The Rundown | Week of 6.18.18

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Alternative Therapies Improve Cancer Treatment, Experts Say

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) endorsed new guidelines that address integrative therapies such as massages, yoga, and acupuncture for patients undergoing cancer treatment. The endorsement fosters patient-doctor discussion about these alternative treatments so that physicians can better assess any risks or interactions. Estimates indicated that between 60 and 80 percent of breast cancer patients undergo at least one method of alternative therapy. Researchers concluded that meditation, yoga, and music therapy helped to reduce stress and manage depression or mood disorders; acupressure and acupuncture were recommended for nausea; and no dietary supplements were found to lessen breast cancer treatment-related side effects.
>>Read More: ASCO endorses some complementary therapies in breast cancer 

Atul Gawande: Surgeon, Author, CEO 

Atul Gawande, MD, was named the CEO of the joint healthcare venture comprising Amazon, J.P. Morgan, and Berkshire Hathaway. As the yet-unnamed partnership is headquartered in Boston, Gawande will continue his role as a general and endocrine surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital as well as his professorship at both Harvard’s Medical School and T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In a note, Gawande said, “This new health care organization represents one of the most promising opportunities to accelerate improvement of US healthcare delivery. The work will be difficult and take time, but it must be done.”
>>Read More: Buffett, Bezos, Dimon appoint Dr. Atul Gawande as CEO of their newly formed health-care company

Will White House’s New Insurance Help Millenials?

The Trump administration unveiled the final version of its association plan rule. The plan is designed to stimulate competition among health insurers by enabling small businesses and self-employed workers to join together to buy insurance. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta estimates up to 4 million individuals will gain coverage through association plans, including 400,000 who were previously uninsured. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office forecasts a moderate, not severe, shift when weighing the plans’ lower costs and reduced benefits. One demographic projected to disproportionately join the association health plans are young, healthy consumers. This could be welcome new millennials, who may be the first generation to have poorer middle-age health than their parents, according to a report by the Health Foundation. Researchers pinpointed inconsistent work hours, job instability, and social media overuse as factors which contribute to “long-term stress, anxiety, depression, or lower quality of life.”
>>Read More: Trump administration finalizes rule to expand association health plan access

Google Brain and the Human Voice

The Google Brain team is focusing on a new project, Medical Digital Assistant, to expedite the “next-gen clinical visit experience.” Google leaders seek to maximize doctors’ patient-facing time by slashing time spent on electronic health records, a major factor in physician burnout surveys.  Last year, Google Brain launched a study with Stanford Medicine to assess the potential for “digital scribes” using speech recognition and machine learning to unburden doctors of excessive note taking. This latest effort echoes the success of Suki, a venture-backed digital startup that uses an AI voice assistant to relieve doctors of as much as 60 percent of their time spent on medical notes. This new direction coincides with the AMA’s recent endorsement of “augmented learning,” which combines AI with a physician lead.
>>Read More: Google seeking talent in voice tech to improve doctor-patient experience

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