Try these Tricorders in clinical trials

Ok. These devices aren’t really the famous Star Trek Medical Tricorder, but we’re getting there. The use of medical or m-health devices in clinical trials to directly capture data and transmit it to a central repository has been picking up steam. See this cool infographic on the use of some m-health technologies in clinical trials. FYI, only 11% of sponsor companies are “fully committed” to allowing clinical trial participants to bring their own device to use in the trial. So, which devices are best? We won’t leave you hanging, go here for a recent free report (Device Census Report) on exactly which devices the authors believe are the top 15 devices for clinical trials. We’ll keep tabs on the m-health world as it pertains to clinical trials, but just for fun, here are four Star Trek medical technologies we use today.

GSK: Billions in, billions out

British pharmaceutical giant GSK had a pretty crazy news day on Monday, announcing two massive deals. First, the money going out: GSK will acquire the oncology biopharma company Tesaro for $5.1B. This deal adds Tesaro’s Zejula to the GSK portfolio, which will give it a foothold to fight AstraZeneca, Merck and Clovis Oncology in the PARP inhibitor market. That probably gives Clovis a big ol’ target on its back saying “Acquire me!” GSK should have enough cash to cover the deal after its other big Monday announcement where the company announced it will be divesting its healthcare nutrition business to Unilever for a cool $4B. GSK and its nutrition products had a good run, but sounds like someone didn’t drink their Horlicks and their relationship got tired.

The only thing you really own is your reputation

We’re sure someone said that once, but if not, we’ll be putting a TM on it soon. It’s hard to go through the full legal process to get a trademark, so we’ll likely take the easy way out. Like China. Harsh, maybe. True of the whole country, nope. Scientific reputation is very fragile. You’ve all heard of the Chinese scientist who altered the DNA in vitro of human embryos (who, by the way, is now missing.) A report from Stanford suggests that “a new emphasis on such “constructive vigilance” (towards China) is the best way to begin to protect (US) democratic traditions, institutions, and nation…” China’s CFDA “revealed that between January 2015 and January 2016, 1,184 drug applications (73%) submitted were rejected or withdrawn due to incomplete or fraudulent clinical data.” All this at a time when China is growing its clinical trial capabilities. Repeat after me – “vigilance.”

Food scientists toying with your amygdala

“Just have one slice and a salad,” she says. 6 slices later you’re a mixture of bliss and regret. And the salad is in the garbage. Here’s why… A recent study conducted by the folks at the University of Michigan have found pizza to elicit addiction-like behaviors in consumers. Here’s the full, nerdy study. Apparently, dastardly chefs around the world have engineered pizza with the precise amounts of added fat (cheese), sugar (crust and sauce), and salt (sauce) to create the perfect culinary storm. Let’s see if these addiction-related behaviors check any boxes: “loss of control over consumption, cravings, and continued consumption despite negative consequences.” Check, check, and check. Here’s how this writer looks at pizza.

Happy holidays, your gift is medical debt forgiveness

Medical debt can easily be characterized as out of hand in the US, considering there’s more than $750B in past-due bills floating around out there. Two New Yorkers decided to buck the stereotype of being stingy and spent some time raising money to make that number just a bit smaller. So they raised $12,500… which, to be fair, is way more than I have in my checking account in any time, but is not going to help a ton of people out. Enter RIP Medical Debt, a charity started by former debt collectors (boo) who now buy medical debt portfolios en masse and forgive them (yay!) That $12,500 allowed the charity to buy $1.5M in medical debts, and gave 1,284 New Yorkers a surprise Christmas/Hanukkah/Festivus/Year-End gift. Talk about a feel-good story.

Proceed to checkout and checkup

Know what allows Amazon to get you your Keychain of the Future delivered to you before you can get from your computer to your front door? Software. You see, Amazon has some of the world’s best software developers. The smart folks at Amazon just released Amazon Comprehend Medical which “will use natural language processing and machine learning to highlight key data points from EHRs and unstructured clinical notes that physicians can use to inform a patient’s care.” And they’ve partnered with Roche, PWC, and Deloitte to bring this to market. They’ve actually published prices and you pay for only the data you use. Cool. If you’re looking to perform medical cohort analysis or improve medical coding in revenue cycle management, then have at it. Still need something to fill the Amazon box? Here are some of the hottest Holiday gifts.