Volume V, Issue 47

Nov. 19, 2018
Will robots replace doctors? 
Charles Dinerstein, MD, MBA, in a November 18, 2018 KevinMD post, states:

Among the many recurring topics, this year has been the impact of machine learning in our lives, especially the implications for our future work life. Prophecies range from ubiquitous utopian machine servants to a dystopian ravaging, hollowing out the work and economic standing of the middle and lower classes.

According to the author:

Some physician work is explicit, easily described, amenable to machine learning. Another portion of our work consists of activity that "we know more than we can tell" - shareable in the sense of "see one, do one," but not amenable to description, our intuition. Machine learning cannot replicate that experience because we cannot express it in a training data set.
Uninsured rate keeps falling despite claims Trump is sabotaging Obamacare
Kimberly Leonard reports for the Washington Examiner on 11.15.18:
The number of people without health insurance fell during the first six months of 2018, federal data show, despite warnings from Democrats and outside groups that the Trump administration sought to "sabotage" the healthcare system. The data, released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, show that roughly 28.5 million people, or 8.8 percent of the population, were uninsured during the first half of the year. CDC scientists said the number was "not significantly different from 2017," when the uninsured rate was 9.1 percent, or 29.3 million people. 
The decrease occurred despite actions the Trump administration took, including ending payments to insurers in Obamacare, and despite actions from Republicans in Congress seeking to overhaul the healthcare law, according to the article.
Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD
On Nov. 15 FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD issued a statement, via FDA.gov, on proposed news steps to protect youth by preventing access to flavored tobacco products and banning menthol in cigarettes. The latest proposed news steps are intended to advance FDA efforts to combat youth access and appeal with a policy framework that firmly and directly addresses the core of the epidemic - flavors.

Studies show that more than half (54 percent) of youth smokers ages 12-17 use menthol cigarettes. Meanwhile, flavored tobacco products used in vaporizers are very popular with American adolescents and vaping all too often leads to traditional smoking. Combustible cigarettes cause the overwhelming majority of tobacco-related disease. When used as intended, they are responsible for the death of half of all long-term users.      
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