Atul Gawande to Lead Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase Health Care Venture

 

Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase have selected Harvard Medical School professor and New Yorker staff writer Atul Gawande as the CEO of their still unnamed company. The organizations in January announced the company to address health care for their U.S. employees. Gawande begins his new role on July 9, at its Boston headquarters. "This work will take time but must be done," Gawande said in a statement. "The system is broken, and better is possible."

 

AMA Urges Regulators to Block CVS-Aetna Merger

 

The proposed merger of CVS and Aetna would harm competition, lead to higher drug spending and out-of-pocket spending, and should be blocked, American Medical Association President Barbara L. McAneny, M.D., said this week in testimony at a California Department of Insurance hearing. “After very careful consideration over the past months, the AMA has come to the conclusion that this merger would likely substantially lessen competition in many health care markets, to the detriment of patients,” McAneny said.

 

Google Researching AI Technology That Could Reduce Physician Paperwork

 

Google is working on an early-stage research project called Medical Digital Assist, which is intended to help physicians take notes with the aid of voice recognition, CNBC reports. This is part of Google’s larger effort to use artificial intelligence to improve visits to the doctor's office. CNBC viewed internal job postings from the company that call the effort "next gen clinical visit experience," and describe using audio and touch technologies to improve the accuracy and availability of care. While the technology is “more of a complicated, hard problem than we originally thought," Steven Lin, M.D., the physician fronting the research, told CNBC, it has the potential to be a game-changer, as physicians currently spend almost two hours on paperwork per hour of direct patient care, a recent study shows.

 

Common Medications Could Lead to Depression

 

Many Americans are taking common drugs that list depression as a side effect, and a New York Times article questions those medications’ roles in the nation’s depression and rising suicide rates. The article cites a JAMA study, which shows that more than a third of Americans take at least one prescription drug that lists depression as a potential side effect, and that those who take them have higher rates of depression than those who don’t. The study revealed that the risk of depression rose with each drug taken. Roughly 200 prescription and some over-the-counter drugs can cause depression, the article states, and those include common medications such as acid reflux pills, beta-blockers, birth control pills and emergency contraceptives, prescription-strength ibuprofen and more.

 

WHO Classifies Addiction to Gaming as Official Disorder

 

The World Health Organization has classified gaming disorder — the addiction to playing video games – as a new mental health condition, CNN reports. Vladimir Poznyak, M.D., a member of WHO's Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, said there are three major diagnostic features or characteristics of a gaming disorder: it takes major precedence over other activities; the impulse to game is very difficult to control; and the condition leads to significant distress and impairment in personal, family, social, educational or occupational functioning. Overall, these symptoms are "very similar" to the diagnostic features of substance use disorders and gambling disorder, he told CNN.

 

Children of Parents with Substance Use Disorder More Likely to be In Foster Care

 

North Carolina children whose parents suffer from substance use disorders are more likely to end up in foster care and have a greater chance of staying in foster care longer than other children, WRAL reports, citing a statement from North Carolina Child Support Services. According to the report, 39 percent of statewide foster care cases involved parental substance misuse in the state fiscal year 2016-2017, up from 26 percent in 2007-2008.