Welcome to Digital Health Briefing, a new morning email providing the latest news, data, and insight on how digital technology is disrupting the healthcare ecosystem, produced by BI Intelligence.
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MICROSOFT AND GOOGLE PUSH HEALTHCARE STRATEGY WITH NEW INVESTMENT: Microsoft and Google participated in a $US58 million funding round for DNAnexus, a precision medicine start-up. DNAnexus, which provides a cloud-based platform for biomedical informatics and data management, will use the funding to advance its precision medicine solutions and expand its footprint in genomic data management for clinical trials.
Precision medicine is a new model of care that is growing in popularity. Traditionally, physicians have used treatment plans that have been designed with the average patient in mind. However, as the healthcare industry moves to more data-driven solutions, physicians are able to provide care with increasing levels of customisation. Precision medicine makes use of variations in genes, environment, and lifestyle to guide the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases for each patient. As this model becomes more popular, firms will flock to develop the tools needed to extract, store, share, and analyse genomic data, which will help facilitate market growth – the global precision medicine market is expected to grow at compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12% to reach $US88.6 billion by 2022, up from $US38.9 billion in 2015, according to Market Research Future.
Microsoft and Google are aggressively going after the precision medicine market as part of their healthcare strategies. The tech giants have both developed new solutions, invested in start-ups, and entered strategic partnerships within precision medicine. For example, Microsoft launched a machine learning project that sifts through medical papers and data to help doctors find the right drug regimen for cancer patients and Google has introduced its own cloud computing service to help process and analyse the world’s genomic information.
JAPANESE HOSPITALS USE ROBOTS TO EASE NURSING BURDENS:Nagoya University Hospital in Japan will start a pilot program in February using robots to deliver drugs and test samples on the hospital floors, according toZDNet. During the year-long trial, four robots will work overnight at the hospital, shuttling between the surgical intensive care unit (ICU), the hospital pharmacy, and the laboratory. The purpose of the robots is to ease the burden on the nursing staff and other auxiliary healthcare providers, allowing doctors and nurses to spend more time caring for patients and less time retrieving medication or transporting samples. The electric-powered robots will use radar and cameras to manoeuvre around hospital hallways. Using robots to accomplish menial tasks in a hospital could be critical for a country like Japan, which has a rapidly ageing population,skyrocketinghealthcare costs, and ashortageof doctors.
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VERMONT’S $US44 MILLION HEALTH INFORMATION EXCHANGE HAS MAJOR FLAWS: A review of Vermont’s health information exchange (HIE), which facilitates the collection, maintenance, and exchange of patient data, shows major financial and administrative issues, according to EHR Intelligence. The review, which included interviews with 89 stakeholders, found that although 91% of respondents stated that it was critical for Vermont to have an HIE, only 19% agreed that the exchange had met their individual needs or those of the state. This significant gap is believed to be a result of several problems: accountability issues due to ownership split between three different government agencies, an outdated information technology plan, and lack of outreach to patients to get them to share data. Despite its issues, the exchange has become an important tool for care organisations, which means Vermont will have to look for ways to improve the system. Potential suggestions include a central committee of decision makers, simplifying access to data, and updating information technology systems to meet new standards.
In other news…
- Colorado-based Longs Peak Family Practice was hit by two cyber attacks in one week,according to Healthcare IT News. Although no financial information was in the potentially compromised files, they contained the identification numbers, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, addresses, and clinical notes of patients.
PEAR Therapeutics, a prescription digital therapeutics firm, announced the closure of a $US50 million round of funding led by Temasek.