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What We’re Reading: ACA Perception; FDA Blood Sugar Warning; AI and Physician Burnout

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More than half of US adults have a favorable view of the Affordable Care Act (ACA); smartwatches and rings that claim to measure blood sugar levels without piercing the skin could be dangerous and should be avoided; many believe artificial intelligence (AI) could be the solution to physician burnout.

New Polling Shows 6 in 10 Hold Favorable View of Affordable Care Act i

More than half of US adults have a favorable view of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a recent poll by KFF Health News. The survey found that 59% of US adults had a favorable view of the ACA, although respondents differed along party lines as to what they would like to see done with the law. Seventy-seven precent of Democratic voters want the next presidential administration and Congress to expand the law, while 39% of Republicans want it to be repealed and about 23% would like it scaled back; nearly half (48%) of independent voters said they want the law to be expanded, and 18% said to keep it as is. Popular provisions include protection for those with preexisting conditions, preventing health insurance companies from denying coverage because of one’s medical history, and preventing health insurance companies from charging sick people higher premiums.

FDA Warns Against Smartwatches, Rings Claiming to Measure Blood Sugar Without Needles

The FDA warned on Wednesday that smartwatches and rings that claim to measure blood sugar levels for medical purposes without piercing the skin could be dangerous and should be avoided, according to The Associated Press. This applies to any watch or ring that claims to noninvasivly measure blood glucose levels, with the FDA saying it has not authorized any such device. Using unapproved smart devices could result in inaccurate blood sugar measurements, which could cause patients to take the wrong doses of medication, leading to dangerous levels of blood sugar and possibly coma, mental confusion, or death. Experts warn that the technology that allows smartwatches and rings to measure blood oxygen and heart rate is not accurate enough to measure blood sugar, and that although several companies are working on noninvasive devices to measure blood sugar, none has created a product accurate and secure enough to get FDA approval.

83% of Doctors Say AI Could Help Fight Burnout

Most physicians regularly feel burned out, and many believe artificial intelligence (AI) could be the solution, according to The Hill. A survey of 1003 doctors released Wednesday by Athenahealth found that around 93% of respondents experienced burnout after working an extra 15 hours. Also, about 64% of respondents feel overwhelmed by clerical requirements, and more than 60% have considered leaving the field. However, roughly 83% said AI could help to fix problems associated with physician burnout. More specifically, AI could help offset some of the clerical workload doctors deal with, allowing them more time with patients and increasing staff retention by reducing burnout. Conversely, 60% of respondents said their biggest concern with AI is the loss of human touch as 4 of 10 physicians said AI will contribute to complicating the field.

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