When Marci Bowers consults with her patients, no subject is off limits. A transgender ob/gyn and gynecologic surgeon in Burlingame, California, she knows how important it is that patients feel comfortable sharing their sexual orientation and gender identity with their doctor, trust and honesty being essential to providing the best medical care. But Bowers knows firsthand that the medical setting can be a challenging place for patients to be candid. That for LGBT people, it can even be dangerous.
Federal regulators have cleared dozens of AI products used in health care, which might give the impression that the Food and Drug Administration has a firm handle on a technology that is already changing how patients are treated. But a meeting on AI regulation last week told a different story. The agency is still grappling with fundamental questions about algorithmic bias, data transparency, and how to ensure that patients benefit equally from AI's rapid progress in medicine. Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT and enjoy your first 30 days free! STAT is STAT's premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond.
Two out of five hospital trusts and health boards in the UK do not give sanitary products to patients who need them, or only in emergencies, an investigation by the BMA has found. The doctors' union says pads and tampons are a basic need and should be available free to inpatients. But in some trusts, razors and shaving foam were handed out free while sanitary products were not. The BMA has written to NHS England asking for action to be taken. The BMA asked a total of 223 trusts and health boards across the UK about the policy towards supplying sanitary products.
University of Alberta computing scientists are developing an app to aid health-care staff to assess and manage pain in patients suffering from dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases. "The challenge with understanding pain in patients with dementia is that the expressions of pain in these individuals are often mistaken for psychiatric problems," said Eleni Stroulia, professor in the Department of Computing Science and co-lead on the project. "So we asked, how can we use technology to better understand the pain of people with dementia?" Along with Stroulia, the project is led by Thomas Hadjistavropoulos at the University of Regina as part of AGE-WELL, one of Canada's Networks of Centres of Excellence. The app will serve to digitize a pen-and-paper observational checklist that past research has shown helps health-care workers such as nurses when assessing pain in their patients suffering from dementia.
When a digital health company announces a new app, everyone seems to think it's going to improve health. Where I work, in San Francisco's public health system, in a hospital named after the founder of Facebook, digital solutions promising to improve health feel far away. The patients and providers in our public delivery system are deeply familiar with the real-world barriers to leveraging technology to improve health. Our patients are low-income (nearly all of them receive public insurance) and diverse (more than 140 languages are spoken). Many of them manage multiple chronic conditions.