Wednesday, February 14, 2018

FDA authorizes marketing of first blood test to aid in the evaluation of concussion in adults

Advances in technology are leading to a host of innovations around reducing and detecting concussions.

Today, the FDA authorized the marketing of the first blood test to evaluate mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), commonly referred to as concussion, in adults.

The FDA reviewed and authorized for marketing the Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator in fewer than 6 months as part of its Breakthrough Devices Program.

The Brain Trauma Indicator works by measuring levels of proteins, known as UCH-L1 and GFAP, that are released from the brain into blood and measured within 12 hours of head injury. Levels of these blood proteins after mTBI/concussion can help predict which patients may have intracranial lesions visible by CT scan and which won’t. Being able to predict if patients have a low probability of intracranial lesions can help health care professionals in their management of patients and the decision to perform a CT scan. Test results can be available within 3 to 4 hours.

More information here.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Using heart rate data (and machine learning) to detect diabetes?

A very interesting study seems to suggest that continuous heart data could identify patients who have diabetes. You can read more about this story on Wired:
... at the annual AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence in New Orleans, digital health-tracking startup Cardiogram presented research suggesting the Apple Watch’s heart rate sensor and step counter can make a good guess at whether or not a person has diabetes—when paired with the right machine-learning algorithms, of course.
In 2013, researchers at UCSF launched the Health eHeart study and registered close to 200,000 participants. About 40,000 opted to link their health information with their Cardiogram app. The DeepHeart neural network was trained to spot patterns and trends linked to human disease. Using semi-supervised sequence learning (artificial intelligence), the machine interpreted patterns of heart rate variability and was able to identify patients with diabetes 85% of the time.

I find myself wondering if some of this may be related to certain pharmacologic agents such as beta blockers...

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Apple Health app will link to your medical records (thanks to FHIR)

Apple recently announced that its mobile Health app will link to electronic health record (EHR) systems. This will allow patients/consumers access to their personal health record (PHR). While companies like Microsoft launched PHR platforms such as HealthVault a number of years ago, most of these PHRs were not linked to EHRs. Tethered PHRs became available when patient portals were launched by hospitals, health systems, and clinics to meet the CMS Meaningful Use requirements.

It seems that we're finally entering an era where advances such the FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) Specification and other interoperability standards will allow patients and providers to link critical health information.

From the Apple Announcement:
The updated Health Records section within the Health app brings together hospitals, clinics and the existing Health app to make it easy for consumers to see their available medical data from multiple providers whenever they choose. Johns Hopkins Medicine, Cedars-Sinai, Penn Medicine and other participating hospitals and clinics are among the first to make this beta feature available to their patients.
FHIR is finally allowing true interoperability to become a reality. It took a while for health care to achieve this, but I'm sure we'll see tremendous momentum as more developers build apps that leverage FHIR.

We can also expect to see some very interesting days ahead as Amazon dives into health care. Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan are joining forces to "fix" health care in our country. They're doing to start by fixing health care for their own employees, but I'm sure other large organizations will watch them closely and adopt key lessons from their successes.

Empowering patients with their own health information is one of the first steps to fixing health care in this country. As caregivers also gain access to critical health information, this may lead to more coordinated and effective care delivery (especially for those living in the "sandwich generation" and caring for their own children and their aging parents).

Monday, November 13, 2017

FDA approves pill with sensor that digitally tracks ingestion

For the past several years, we had heard about the sensor technology and patch developed by Proteus Digital Health. The FDA just approved the first pill that integrates this technology into Abilify, a drug used to treat schizophrenia.

Abilify MyCite (aripiprazole tablets with sensor) has an ingestible sensor embedded in the pill that records that the medication was taken. The product is approved for the treatment of schizophrenia, acute treatment of manic and mixed episodes associated with bipolar I disorder and for use as an add-on treatment for depression in adults.

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