What We're Reading: MSKCC AI Startup; AMA and Patient Privacy; GOP Healthcare Message

September 21, 2018

An artificial intelligence startup with ties to employees and board members of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is sparking dissent at the venerable institution; the American Medical Association (AMA) is opposing a change to patient privacy laws contained in a massive opioids bill; Republicans are struggling to find a healthcare message to sell to voters as the midterm elections draw near.

MSKCC Staff Upset at Startup That Uses Doctors' Work, Patient Data

An artificial intelligence startup with ties to employees and board members of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is sparking dissent at the venerable institution, especially in the wake of the resignation of its chief medical officer after it was found he failed to disclose financial relationships with industry in published articles. The startup, Paige.AI, has an exclusive deal to use the cancer center’s archive of 25 million patient tissue slides, ProPublica and The New York Times reported. Hospital pathologists are opposed to the idea, saying the founders are receiving equity stakes in a firm that is relying on their own scientific expertise, and they also question the use of patient data, even if it anonymous.

AMA Opposed to Loss of Patient Privacy in Opioid Bill

The American Medical Association (AMA) is opposing a change to patient privacy laws contained in a massive opioids bill that would allow doctors to more freely share information about a patient’s history of substance use disorders (SUD), STAT reported. The provision would allow the sharing of a full medical history, including SUD treatment, with other healthcare professionals and even insurers, sometimes without a patient’s consent. Currently, patients must agree to such sharing. The proposal that has divided the healthcare community, with the American Hospital Association and insurers supporting the idea, and it has highlighted some of the challenges of addressing the opioid epidemic.

Republicans Search for Healthcare Message They Can Use in Midterm Elections

Republicans are struggling to find a healthcare message to sell to voters as the midterm elections draw near, Politico reported. The GOP is trying to assuage fears about the possible loss of pre-existing conditions enshrined in the Affordable Care Act, but the most direct effort to address that issue, a recent Senate bill Republicans said would protect sick patients, backfired when it was found to contain loopholes. Also working against Republicans: the Trump administration's support for a lawsuit in Texas that would gut the healthcare law.