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By Brittany TrangJan. 26, 2023
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The building buzz for ChatGPT in health care
It feels like ChatGPT is making headlines every day: The program has generated huge interest — including a pledged multi-billion dollar investment from Microsoft — for its ability to write nearly anything it’s asked to write and to answer questions. Users come up with a steady string of new ways to put the AI chatbot to the test. And medicine is no exception. So far, it’s passed a version of the U.S. medical licensing exam and been used to chart patient information and draft appeals to insurance denials. But what limitations and risks have those experiments exposed? And where might the technology be used in health care going forward? Can it rescue physicians from rote tasks, or should it be used to tackle complex scientific questions? I talked to experts about the technology, its risks, and its potential in a new deep dive out this morning — read here. 
Long-awaited greenlight for artificial pancreas app
Earlier this week, the FDA cleared the Tidepool Loop automated insulin dosing app, which allows people with Type 1 diabetes to control their insulin pumps from their Apple Watch or iPhone. Tidepool, a nonprofit, developed the Loop app based on a DIY project by patients who exploited loopholes in the software of their insulin pumps. The app and dosing algorithm work with any certain integrated continuous glucose monitor and pump, allowing patients more choice. Tidepool said it’s working to cement agreements with certain CGM and pump makers to make their devices compatible. STAT’s Katie Palmer has previously reported on Dexcom’s  partnership with Tidepool to include their components with the Loop platform, as well as Tidepool’s data partnerships with Insulet and Medtronic.
Pharma’s latest digital health deal
Yesterday, Roche and Sysnav Healthcare announced a new partnership to use Sysnav’s movement tracking technology to monitor disease progression in several neurological disorders. Sysnav’s movement trackers, which are somewhat like the motion-capture technology used in the film industry than the inertial sensors in smartphones, allow patients with neurological disorders to measure motor function during their daily lives. The company, which has two wearable devices called ActiMyo and Syde, was the first to qualify a digital endpoint with the European Medical Association and aims to develop more digital endpoints for clinical trials in the partnership.
Fitbits for tracking multiple sclerosis
Screen Shot 2023-01-25 at 5.53.35 PM
Speaking of movement trackers, there are few good tools for people with multiple sclerosis to keep tabs on their activity. The options can be costly, and not especially consumer-friendly. But that data could be especially useful to researchers and patients with the progressive disease, which can cause tremors and a loss of motor control. In a new paper, researchers report on the early results from a potential solution: Fitbits. The researchers gave a Fitbit Inspire HR to 45 people with moderate mobility impairment due to MS, and then tested how well it compared to self-reported step counts, time spent physically active, and more. They also compared it to data from a wearable made by Actigraph for research. The results, while not fully in agreement across all metrics, suggest the Fitbit might be usable as a physical activity tracking tool for patients with mild or moderate MS.
A push for reproductive health data privacy
California representatives Sara Jacobs and Anna Eshoo introduced the Secure Access for Essential Reproductive (SAFER) Health Act this week. The bill, rolled out in recognition of the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, would prevent health care providers from disclosing abortion- or pregnancy loss-related health information without patient consent. Under the decades-old patient privacy law HIPAA, if there’s a warrant, court order, or subpoena for the release of a patient’s reproductive health records, then a health provider could be required to hand them over. It’s not clear it could garner the support to pass.
New funding for AI and triage
Sharon Begley Science Reporting Fellow
Brittany Trang is a 2022-2023 Sharon Begley Science Reporting Fellow at STAT.

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