Increased use of electronic medical records can improve treatments and diagnoses for patients, but they're also vulnerable to large data breaches. Are we sharing too much of our personal health data? It's a question worth asking after massive breaches of our personal health data in recent years and reports that, even in low-tech settings like a hospital waiting room, privacy protocols are faulty. According to the health trade publicationHIPAA Journal,more hospitals and doctors' practices reported breaches in 2016 than in any other year since the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Civil Rights, which collects data on leaks, started publishing breach summaries in 2009. Among the latest leaks: Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center in New York City left patients' names, home addresses, medical and mental health diagnoses, addiction histories, HIV statuses and even sexual assault and domestic violence reports exposed online.
Digital health tools have and continue to radically change how care is delivered and provided, helping with early detection and cutting costs. Wearable devices, telemedicine and mobile apps already enable patients to be more proactive with their health, and help care providers better tailor individual care. "Artificial intelligence, particularly efforts to use machine learning . . . He spoke April 26 at the Health Datapalooza in Washington, D.C., organized by Academy Health. "We know that to support the widespread adoption of AI tools, we need patients and providers to understand the connection between decision-making in traditional health care settings and the use of these advanced technologies," Gottlieb said.
Washington University researchers are working to develop artificial intelligence (AI) systems for health care, which have the potential to transform the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, helping to ensure that patients get the right treatment at the right time. In a new Viewpoint article published Dec. 10 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), two AI experts at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis--Philip Payne, the Robert J. Terry Professor and director of the Institute for Informatics; and Thomas M. Maddox, MD, a professor of medicine and director of the Health Systems Innovation Lab--discuss the best uses for AI in health care and outline some of the challenges for implementing the technology in hospitals and clinics. In health care, artificial intelligence relies on the power of computers to sift through and make sense of reams of electronic data about patients--such as their ages, medical histories, health status, test results, medical images, DNA sequences, and many other sources of health information. AI excels at the complex identification of patterns in these reams of data, and it can do this at a scale and speed beyond human capacity. The hope is that this technology can be harnessed to help doctors and patients make better health-care decisions.
Wearable devices that track fitness are a rich source of real-time health data. Over the past year, technology titans including Google, Apple, Microsoft and IBM have been hiring leaders in biomedical research to bolster their efforts to change medicine. In September 2015, Tom Insel announced that he would quit his position as head of the US National Institute of Mental Health to join Google Life Sciences (now Verily). Three months later, Michael McConnell took a leave of absence from directing major cardiovascular research programmes at California's Stanford University to join him. And last month, Stephen Friend took a senior position with Apple.
Harvard biologist George Church burst into the headlines (yet again) last week when he helped organize a closed-door meeting of scores of top scientists to discuss accelerating efforts to create synthetic DNA -- including a complete human genome. They're considering launching a decade-long drive to build, from scratch, all the genes that make humans human. The meeting raised all sorts of ethical questions. He has been stirring controversy, and excitement, in the scientific community for decades. He wants to reanimate the woolly mammoth, edit pig genes so their organs can be transplanted safely into people -- oh, and reverse aging.