5 Things to Read on Health Care Innovation

This week’s five reads on innovation in health care cover potential capabilities for two leading wearables, how an ophthalmologist’s invention may help save the eyesight of people with diabetes, and more.

Fax machines trip up medical residents

Fax machines may seem like dinosaurs in most industries, but they’re still commonplace in hospitals across the nation — and these ancient machines are throwing young doctors-in-training for a loop. Read this CNBC report on an area of health care ripe for some innovation.

Apple Watch appears to be good at detecting diabetes …

A new clinical study shows Apple Watch, when paired with artificial intelligence algorithms, can detect diabetes with 85 percent accuracy, but even the experts are not sure how the algorithms do it. “It makes me nervous, frankly. We’ve had a lot of internal discussions about whether this could be picking up medications diabetics use or some other extraneous factor. But we haven’t come up with anything,” the study’s co-author told Wired. Check out the full article.

… and Fitbit’s latest acquisition signals a move to manage chronic conditions

Fitbit plans to acquire Twine Health, a health care startup that connects health coaches with people with chronic conditions like hypertension and diabetes. Find more details from Fortune (and read the MHCSW story about the value of health data produced by consumer wearables).

AI may help prevent diabetic blindness

High blood sugar levels can damage or steal the eyesight of people with diabetes, a disease called diabetic retinopathy. Screenings can detect the damage before symptoms arise and help people avoid vision loss, but it can be difficult for many people to see an eye specialist for the annual test. A new artificial-intelligence-powered screening device, if proven effective, may change the status quo by making a diagnosis instead of a recommendation — cutting out the ophthalmologist entirely. The maker of the device has applied for expedited review from the Food and Drug Administration. Learn more from MedCity News (and check out the MHCSW story and video on another diabetic retinopathy screening approach).

How innovative ideas spread in health care

The entire February issue of Health Affairs is dedicated to innovation in health care and how new ideas spread in the industry. The edition is full of case studies and analysis. We recommend starting with the letter from the editor-in-chief for an overview and going from there.

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