Our Top 5 Health-Tech Stories: Google's AI, Human Longevity, and Alexa for Healthcare

What you need to know from another busy week in health IT.

Which stories, concepts, and thought leaders made a difference in healthcare technology this week? Quite a few, of course, and we at Healthcare Analytics News™ have compiled the most important articles that resonated with our forward-thinking audience. So, if you’ve kept your head down after the long weekend, spend this one catching up with the news you need to succeed.

On display are everything from Google’s artificial intelligence (AI) diagnostic system for melanoma and healthcare issues facing US military veterans to the cybersecurity risks that health systems—and all healthcare stakeholders—must address. Finally, we’ve included a few staff picks to round out the list.

>> LISTEN: A New Kind of Warfare

And remember: If you have something to say about any of these stories—or anything in the world of health tech—let us know on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. We’re always up for a good discussion.

The Top 5 Health-Tech Stories of the Week

1. A Neural Network Diagnosed Melanoma Better Than 58 Dermatologists

Testing Google’s AI technology, researchers studied how it fared in identifying melanomas compared to 58 dermatologists from across the world. The results: With or without context, the diagnostic system outperformed the humans. But that doesn’t mean that machines will replace people, at least not yet, as the AI does have some shortcomings.

2. J. Craig Venter Moving on from Human Longevity

A powerful personality in health tech is leaving his baby, Human Longevity, to work at his namesake research institute. J. Craig Venter, PhD, founded the start-up in 2013, with the hope of diagnosing diseases early on and boosting lifespans. Since then, Human Longevity has become a high-tech powerhouse, even funding outside ventures. So, what comes next?

3. Amazon’s Alexa Really Isn't Ready For Healthcare

After a disturbing incident last week, it became clear that smart speakers just aren’t ready to enter the healthcare continuum. (Perhaps there’s an exception for Suki, which is developed specifically for providers?) The skinny: A couple’s conversation was secretly recorded and sent to a random person in the husband’s contact list. And that means tech giants have a lot of fat to trim before we can trust the Alexas of the world to handle our sensitive medical data.

4. Printing Is Increasing Post-EHR Adoption...and So Are the Security Risks

Sean Hughes, an executive for the cybersecurity firm CynergisTek, knows his stuff. So, when he says that printing has somehow taken on a more prominent role in the post-electronic-medical-record-adoption world, well, you better believe it. And that comes with undesirable risks that healthcare organizations cannot afford to ignore. “It is not just the vulnerability of the physical device that causes an increased risk but also what the data is and how it is being used after being printed,” Hughes writes. So read this to get your office in line.

5. 3 Big Issues Facing Healthcare for Veterans

Nothing comes easy for the troops, it seems, and that’s true even in the US Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA). The embattled agency has fielded many challenges in recent years, and many health-tech woes remain. In this piece, our assistant editor, Ryan Black, details what’s going on at the VA and how what happens there could affect veterans and the rest of medicine.

Our Favorite Health-Tech Stories

Is AI Real?

In last week’s episode of our podcast, Data Book, we speak with Kevin Campbell, MD, about AI, machine learning, and deep learning, trying to clear up misconceptions and understand how the technologies might improve healthcare. But first, we tell the story of Sir James Lighthill and his infamous report—a manifesto that evaporated nearly all public AI funding for an entire decade.

Forensic Genealogy Is Neat. Is It Ethical, Though?

The strange and borderline-Dystopian means used to solve the Golden State Killer case dredged up many questions about genetic data and, more precisely, genetic databases. Now, weeks later, some of the country’s leading bioethicists have published a paper examining the moral issues surrounding DNA and genealogy companies and the ramifications of this new incarnation of the information age.

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