KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Software That Scans A Patient’s Face For Disease Signs Is In The Works By Geneticists, Computer Scientists

In other health information technology news, WellCare tests artificial intelligence systems designed to flag health problems and prescribe treatment plans. And senators will consider a bill that would let Medicare test more telehealth models.

Stat: Facial-Recognition Software Finds A New Use: Diagnosing Genetic Disorders
Dr. Maximilian Muenke has a superpower: He can diagnose disease just by looking at a person’s face. Specifically, he can spot certain genetic disorders that make telltale impressions on facial features. “Once you’ve done it for a certain amount of years, you walk into a room and it’s like oh, that child has Williams Syndrome,” he said, referring to a genetic disorder that can affect a person’s cognitive abilities and heart. (Sheridan, 4/10)

The Wall Street Journal: WellCare Tests Artificial Intelligence To Help Improve Patient Health
WellCare Health Plans Inc., an insurer focused on Medicaid and Medicare patients, is building two AI systems – one for clinicians, one for patients – designed to analyze symptoms, demographics, medical histories, and other data sources to suggest treatment plans and interventions. The goal for both projects is to give field workers like visiting nurses, as well as patients themselves, mobile access to medical advice aimed at improving health. (Nash, 4/7)

Modern Healthcare: Senate Bill Would Expand Telemedicine Coverage For Medicare Patients
Days after a bill was introduced to the Senate that would allow Medicare to test covering more telehealth models, the leaders of the Senate Finance Committee introduced a bill that would put more Medicare money into telemedicine. The sponsors of the bill—Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.)—are seeking to improve the quality of care for chronically ill Medicare patients. (Arndt, 4/7)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.