Health IT Roundup—Former National Coordinator for Health IT joins digital health venture firm; Artificial pancreas smartphone app proves safe

Scientists have developed an "artificial pancreas" smartphone app that can interface wirelessly with glucose monitors and insulin pump devices, to regulate blood sugar levels in diabetes patients. (Farknot_Architect)

Former ONC chief Karen DeSalvo joins venture firm

Former National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo, M.D., who also served as acting assistant secretary for health during the Obama Administration, is joining venture capital firm LRVHealth as an executive adviser. DeSalvo is currently a professor of medicine and population health at the University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School. She led ONC from 2014 to 2016 along with a concurrent role as the acting assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). 

Founded in 2000, LRVHealth is an early stage venture platform focused on investing in and building disruptive new digital health, device and diagnostics companies. LRVHealth’s network currently consists of 11 health systems and payers. DeSalvo joins the firm’s team of executive and industry advisers, including Micky Tripathi, president and CEO of Mass eHealth Collaborative, and Glenn Steele, M.D., Ph.D., former chairman of xG Health Solutions and former CEO of Geisinger.

"We need to transform the way healthcare is delivered and paid for, and there’s no better way to do that than working with innovators who are disrupting the system from within,” DeSalvo said in a statement. (Announcement)

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Artificial pancreas smartphone app proves safe, effective for diabetics

Scientists have developed an "artificial pancreas" smartphone app that can interface wirelessly with glucose monitors and insulin pump devices, to regulate blood sugar levels in diabetes patients.

A clinical trial showed that the artificial pancreas system app is safe and effective in regulating glucose levels under challenging conditions and is suitable for use in unconstrained environments. According to researchers, artificial pancreas systems “close the loop” between a continuous glucose monitor and an insulin pump with an algorithm that adjusts insulin dose to control blood glucose in patients with Type 1 diabetes.

The pilot Food and Drug Administration-approved clinical trial showed that the system can interface wirelessly with leading continuous glucose monitors, insulin pump devices, and decision-making algorithms. (Study)

Google’s effort to prevent blindness shows AI challenges

Google has developed artificial intelligence that can detect a condition that causes blindness in diabetes patients, though tests in India demonstrate the challenges of transferring such technology from the lab to the doctor’s office, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The technology giant’s Automated Retinal Disease Assessment tool is trained to diagnose diabetic retinopathy, a complication of diabetes, by reading images of patients’ retinas. Studies show that artificial intelligence can be as effective as a doctor at identifying signs of the condition. (WSJ)

WEDI announces new board leadership

The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI), the nonprofit organization tasked with advising the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on health IT and health information exchange, recently announced new 2019 board leadership: Jay Eisenstock as chair and Nancy Spector as chair-elect.

In their roles, Eisenstock and Spector will help to drive industry efforts in advancing the use of health IT. Currently principal of JE Consulting, Eisenstock’s career spans more than 30 years in healthcare and technology, including as a consultant, speaker, contract negotiator and management professional.

Spector has held business and clinical roles in patient safety and quality improvement in academic medical centers, including six years as a staff nurse in neonatal intensive care. Currently, she is the coding and HIT advocacy director at the American Medical Association (AMA), supporting more than 200,000 physician members. She is also the chair of the National Uniform Claim Committee, which is a HIPAA-named adviser to HHS on the development of standards. (Announcement)

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