KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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For $39 A Month, This ‘Woebot’ May Fill Gaps For Patients Who Can’t See A Therapist

The creators of the chatbot see it as a way to help patients when a therapist isn't available. “You can access it when you need it most,” says former Stanford researcher Alison Darcy. “If it’s 2 a.m. and you’re having a panic attack, a physician isn’t going to be available at that time.” Meanwhile, researchers find that wireless "smart" pill bottles don't really do anything to help people remember to take their medicine.

Los Angeles Times: Depressed But Can't See A Therapist? This Chatbot Could Help
Fifty years ago, an MIT professor created a chatbot that simulated a psychotherapist. Named Eliza, it was able to trick some people into believing it was human. But it didn’t understand what it was told, nor did it have the capacity to learn on its own. The only test it had to pass was: Could it fool humans? (Lien, 8/23)

NPR: A 'Smart' Pill Bottle's Reminder To Take Meds Isn't Enough, Research Shows
What if I told you there was a way to use technology to save an estimated $100 billion to $300 billion dollars a year in health care spending in the U.S.? That's the estimated cost incurred because people don't take the medications they're prescribed. A number of companies are now selling wireless "smart" pill bottles, Internet-linked devices aimed at reminding people to take their pills. But recent research suggests that actually changing that behavior may take more than an electronic nudge. (Silverman, 8/22)

In other health technology news —

Modern Healthcare: Healthcare Organizations Ask CMS To Harmonize EHR Requirements 
Healthcare organizations praised the CMS for proposing greater flexibility in electronic health record requirements under the Merit-based Incentive Payment System track of MACRA and asked the agency to standardize EHR requirements across incentive programs. The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, the American Hospital Association, the American Health Information Management Association and others supported CMS' proposed 2018 performance year rule's change that would allow clinicians to continue to use 2014 edition certified EHRs for another year, potentially saving them the effort of updating and installing new software. (Arndt, 8/22)

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