News roundup: Walmart and Microsoft AI, are derm apps endangering public with 88% skin cancer diagnosis?

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Lasso.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Walmart and Microsoft partner to change the retail experience via AI. The five-year agreement will switch over applications to the cloud and will affect shipping and supply chain. It’s projected in Healthcare Dive that the impact will be in healthcare as well. Microsoft announced last month that it is forming a unit to advance AI and cloud-based healthcare tools. The landscape is under extreme pressure in retail and healthcare delivery, and Walmart needs to ready for future moves which will certainly happen. Walmart is rumored to be interested in acquiring Humana and is currently working with Emory Healthcare in Atlanta. Then there is CVS-Aetna, Cigna-Express Scripts, Google, and (looming above all) Amazon. (Though you can tuck all the years of Amazon’s profits into one year of Walmart’s.)

The ITV News headline grabs attention — but are dermatology apps really endangering the public when teledermatology can help diagnose 88 percent of people with skin cancer and 97 percent of those with benign lesions? A University of Birmingham-led research team did a metastudy of the literature and found three failings: “a lack of rigorous published trials to show they work and are safe, a lack of input during the app development from specialists to identify which lesions are suspicious and flaws in how the technology analyses photos” particularly for scaly or non-pigmented melanomas. But did access to these apps encourage early diagnosis which can lead to up to 100 percent five-year survival? Of course review is required as recommended by the study, but this last factor was not really examined at the British Association of Dermatologists’ annual meeting in Edinburgh. University of Birmingham release with study abstract

Melanoma app fined by FTC for deceptive claims (US)

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/melapp-screens.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Following on Editor Charles’ reporting since February on two ‘melanoma detection’ apps cited by the US Federal Trade Commission as making unsupported claims on diagnosis of assessment of melanoma risks, one of the two, MelApp, has been fined approximately $18,000, deciding 4-1 in a final consent order. MelApp, an iOS and Android app developed by Health Discovery Corporation and retailing for $1.99, claimed without proof that it could assess skin lesion risk (low, medium, high) through a smartphone photo plus questions about the mark. From the FTC release: “The final order settling the action bars the company from claiming that any device detects or diagnoses melanoma or its risk factors, or increases users’ chances of early detection, unless the representation is not misleading and is supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence. It also prohibits Health Discovery Corporation from making any other deceptive claims about a device’s health benefits or efficacy, or about the scientific support for any product or service….” No word on a final consent order against Mole Detective, but we believe it will follow shortly. FTC press release. Previously in TTA: Action on bad apps, Mole Detective still available, and Mole Detective vanishes. Photo courtesy of the 23 February FTC release

All the sillier then that the VentureBeat article on the FTC action takes the tack that “The fine shows how difficult it will be for future mobile entrepreneurs to launch health apps that go beyond basic fitness and heart rate monitoring.” (more…)

Medical informatics in dermatology course (NY)

Thursday 13 November (all day), Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Rockefeller Research Laboratories Auditorium, New York City

‘Envisioning the Future of Dermatology Through the Lens of Medical Informatics’  will enable the clinician to better understand:

  • the novel approaches to diagnose skin cancers with computer informatics
  • the benefits, limitations and integration of photography and electronic medical record in dermatology
  • the benefits, limitations and legal barriers in teledermatology
  • the factors related to privacy issues for images

6.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits. Early registration savings before 1 October: $50 MDs, PhDs and DOs; $25 Fellows, Residents, and RNs. After 1 October add $25. More information and registration. Hat tip to Peter Brodhead of MSKCC and Howard Reis of HealthePractices.