The WHO on ethical AI, Doximity’s ascent, & algorithms for IVF

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WHO weighs in on ethical AI 

The World Health Organization has issued its first guidance on the use of artificial intelligence in health care. The 150-page report sets forth six principles for ethical use of AI, some of which contrast sharply with existing use and regulation. On the list:


  1. Humans should remain in control of healthcare systems and medical decisions.
  2. AI products should be required to meet standards for safety, accuracy and efficacy within well-defined use cases.
  3. AI developers should be transparent about how products are designed and function before they’re used.
  4. Healthcare businesses that rely on AI should ensure they are used under appropriate conditions by trained personnel.
  5. AI must be designed to encourage inclusiveness and equality.

The performance of AI applications should be continuously and transparently assessed during actual use.

The debate over digital diabetes coaching 


Virtual care for diabetes has exploded in the last five years, with companies from Onduo to One Drop to Omada offering a combo of remote monitoring and coaching to help keep glucose in check. But some experts think the industry is racing ahead of the evidence. “There’s a lot of money involved, huge revenues… what’s the evidence that what they’re doing works? Now, I’m going to disappoint you all, because there isn’t a lot,” said Yale endocrinologist Kasia Lipska, who this weekend voiced one side of a debate on the topic at the American Diabetes Association meeting. Read more in Katie’s story.

AI for IVF

For those pursuing parenthood with in vitro fertilization, the choice to test embryos can be fraught. The procedure requires a biopsy, putting the fragile embryo at risk even as the test aims to select those with the best chance of successful implantation. A new study presented at a conference offers a workaround: By analyzing time-lapse imaging of embryos, researchers may be able to distinguish embryos with the typical 23 pairs of chromosomes from those with an abnormal number. With more development, the computer vision technique could allow non-invasive testing for chromosome count by taking microscopic measurements of the embryos’ cell edges.

Where does all the data go?

The good news: Mobile health apps are less likely than your average app to collect and transmit personal user data. The bad news: An analysis of more than 20,000 health and fitness apps published in the BMJ shows that 88% contain code that could collect user data, and researchers spotted transmission of that data in nearly 4% of apps, most commonly to be shared with third parties.

Wheeling & dealing

  • Home dialysis company Quanta raised $245 million in a Series D round led by Glenview Capitaland Novo Holdings. The UK-based company makes a portable hemodialysis system used to treat patients in the hospital and home in Europe. The FDA has only cleared it for use in acute and chronic care facilities.
  • Doximity, the social networking site for physicians, has shot up like a rocket during its first few days on the public market. On Thursday, it sold 23.3 million shares at $26, above its projected IPO price, and was trading above $56 on Monday.
  • Tegria, a spinoff of the Providence health system, has acquired the AI company KenSci for an undisclosed sum. The deal will help Tegria expand its services for helping hospitals and other customers build AI and analytics for EHRs.
  • Hims & Hers plans to acquire teledermatology companyApostrophe as part of a broader move to personalize its offerings. “With regard to the degree of personalization we’re talking about, it’s probably a new frontier for us,” Hims CEO Andrew Dudum told Erin. While the company has steadily expanded after its January IPO, its share price has fallen in the months since.
  • Paceline, a company that offers financial rewards for staying physically active, raised $29.5 million in a Series A round led by Acrew Capital and Mubadala Capital. The company plans to launch a credit card that rewards users for meeting activity goals measured by devices such as Apple Watch and Fitbit.

Moving on

  • The Digital Therapeutics Alliance has a new CEO: Andy Molnar, who joins the trade association from Cognoa. DTA executive director Megan Coder will take on a new role focused on international policy.
  • Amazon exec Jean-Olivier Racine is leaving for Outset Medical, where he will serve as the dialysis techcompany’s CTO. Racine headed up engineering and science for AWS Health AI, managing products like Comprehend Medical (NLP for medical text) and HealthLake (for structuring and analyzing health data).
  • Seqster, a company focused on joining diverse types of patient data, has joinedthe CommonWell HealthAlliance. The trade association promotes a health data exchange that includes 22,000 provider sites, which Seqster’s clients will now join.
  • In a new partnershipVeradigm is pairing its EHR databases with the clinical research expertise at contract research organization PRA Health Sciences to enable EHR-based research. The network will allow 25,000 physicians to identify clinical trial eligibility for their patients.
Source: STAT