Epic and Microsoft’s AI collaboration, Amazon and 3M, & Abbott’s CGM momentum

You’re reading the web edition of STAT Health Tech, our guide to how tech is transforming the life sciences. Sign up to get this newsletter delivered in your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday. 

Researchers test Microsoft and Epic’s AI

Researchers at StanfordUC San Diego Health, and UW Health in Madison will be among the first to pilot generative AI tools created by Microsoft and electronic health record vendor Epic. The hope, Brittany Trang and Casey Ross report, is to offer overworked physicians some relief by helping them draft responses to the barrage of patient messages arriving in online portals.


The AI won’t be let off the leash entirely: All the responses will be reviewed by human caregivers before they are sent. In addition, experts will monitor the tool’s impact on patient satisfaction and assess how much time it actually saves clinicians. And a bioethicist will examine whether the automated replies inject bias into communications with patients or worsen health inequities.

Of the cautious approach,  Christopher Longhurst, chief medical officer at UC San Diego said, “when you take new functionality like this, you have to be really careful when you’re implementing it in a high-risk environment like health care.” Read more here.


Amazon to power 3M’s clinical AI development

3M Health Information Systems announced this week it is partnering with Amazon Web Services to use Amazon’s machine learning and generative AI models to improve 3M products, including its AI medical scribe product, Fluency Align. 

The news comes on the heels of Nuance announcing plans to integrate GPT-4 into its DAX medical scribe product. As Brittany Trang reports, the race to integrate large language models like GPT-4 into health care products has swiftly sparked concerns among experts who say it’s not clear yet whether the tools are accurate or reliable enough for use in medicine.

“We are excited about the technology and we are scared of this technology, both,” said Detlef Koll, vice president of global research and development at 3M Health Information Systems. “We know that this introduction into the market creates new risks,” such as physicians not checking the AI-generated notes as thoroughly as they should before signing off on them, he said. Read more here.

HCA pilots AI for clinical documentation

Speaking of clinical AI: HCA, one of the country’s largest hospital systems, is investing $12 million in the AI-powered medical scribe company Augmedix to help speed the development and commercialization of its product for HCA’s use. Notably, the partnership is specifically for using AI to generate medical notes in the noisy, chaotic emergency room, a setting where competing technologies have struggled. Augmedix is testing the product in two HCA ERs and will start testing in two more by this summer.

While HCA hopes to use the product across the organization as soon as possible, Augmedix CEO Manny Krakaris told Brittany the company will also use the feedback to tune and launch its new fully AI-powered product, Augmedix Go, which will be commercially available by the end of the year.

“HCA is a massive organization and the whole premise here is that we don’t want to just do an experiment, or we don’t want to just limit it to one hospital,” said Krakaris. “We want to develop a solution that is going to make a difference to an organization.”

Teladoc goes after weight loss and Ro’s epic obesity document

GLP-1 agonists have quickly become a must-have offering for telehealth startups. Teladoc is the latest company to jump in, adding new provider-based care for weight management and prediabetes programs that build on services targeting hypertension and diabetes that launched earlier this year. The programs, slated to get underway in the third quarter, will provide GLP-1s among other treatments.

In related news, Zachariah Reitano, the cofounder and CEO of telehealth company Ro, published an extensive document titled “Obesity: An Accusation Audit.” It began an internal resource, he wrote, but he decided to publish it “because I’ve seen the public discourse talk about very similar subjects concerning weight loss and obesity, though often without being grounded in research and data.”

Ro has been aggressively marketing Wegovy by name, a practice which falls in a legal grey area. Reitano’s post lends credence to Ro’s defense that its approach to the drugs is thoughtful and not an opportunistic cash grab.

Abbott’s CGM momentum builds

Abbott Laboratories’ FreeStyle Libre continuous glucose monitors continue to sell well: The company on Wednesday reported $1.2 billion in sales for the first quarter, which the company touted as “U.S. growth of approximately 50%.”

But this is just the latest $1 billion-plus quarter for Libre, which explains why CEO Robert Ford is bullish that the business segment can grow from $4.3 billion in 2022 to $10 billion by 2028. He’s candid that this would require an annual growth rate of 15%.

Something to watch is how Abbott’s expanding portfolio of monitoring products impacts the bottom line. In March, FreeStyle Libre sensors received FDA clearance to work with automated insulin delivery systems, making them available to a new swath of users. And Ford has touted the potential of its future combined glucose and ketone sensor as well as the forthcoming line of Lingo consumer “biowearables.” The latter are expected to start hitting the market this year.

Source: STAT