This week’s reads on health care innovation cover what major companies like Apple, Facebook and Amazon have in mind for health data, and more.
A new patent filed by Amazon signals that Alexa, the company’s smart speaker, may soon start listening for signs of illness. If the speaker hears things like coughs and sniffles, or even tones suggesting tiredness or frustration, it might recommend products — like chicken soup or cough drops. MobiHealthNews shares the details, along with the caveat that companies routinely pursue patents for ideas that never become products.
Fee-for-service Medicare is in dire need of “more effective and person-centered models of payment and delivery of services,” according to a report from the Bipartisan Policy Center. FierceHealthcare covers the report and how others are working to improve care for the growing senior population.
The newest version of the Apple Watch will contain a heart monitor that can do electrocardiograms. While innovative, there are potential downsides to this technology. It could lead to false positives, sending healthy people to the doctor for no reason. Or, it could lead to false negatives, and someone who needs to go to the doctor might choose not to go. The New York Times’ Upshot blog has more.
Facebook may want to share the data it has on users’ social lives with doctors to improve health and well-being. “The primary driver of health outcomes in the United States are social and behavioral variables. Really understanding what these social determinants of health are should be our primary area of focus,” Facebook’s head of health research said at a conference, according to this CNBC report.
[Related video: Sharing Data with Doctors to Improve Care]
A panel of Cleveland Clinic physicians and scientists recently named the 10 medical innovations they believe will shape health care in 2019. Alternative pain therapies, artificial intelligence and new stroke interventions topped the list. See the full list from the Cleveland Clinic.