‘Love, yet fear’ — how medtech is stepping into the digital sphere

Robert Cohen of Stryker offered his thoughts on how medtech is adopting digital technologies. [Photo courtesy of Stryker]Dr. Rajiv Sethi likes to compare the implementation of digital technologies and automation in medtech to the automation in an airplane.

If the pilots experienced an issue with their technology or the weather, for instance, they could manually interject, he says. But, the “vast majority of the work” goes down to automation.

Sethi serves as a clinical professor for health systems and population health and executive director of the Center for Neurosciences and Spine at the University of Washington School of Medicine and Virginia Mason Medical Center. He explained his airplane and operating room analogy today at AdvaMed’s The MedTech Conference in Anaheim, California.

Sethi spoke on a panel titled “Digital is the New Frontier: Are We Stepping Into it Boldly?” (Want to find out more about digital surgery, artifici…

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Ginkgo Bioworks and Google Cloud forge five-year AI and biology partnership

Ginkgo Bioworks’ pioneering capabilities in harnessing vast biological data. [Image courtesy of Ginkgo Bioworks]

Founded in 2008, Ginkgo Bioworks’ stock jumped almost 25% on August 29, hitting $2.22, after unveiling a five-year partnership with Google Cloud. The partnership centers around the development of novel AI tools for biology and biosecurity. In particular, Ginkgo hopes to further its mission to make biology easier to engineer in the AI era.

Opting to make Google Cloud its primary cloud services provider, Ginkgo plans to develop new large language models for biological engineering applications based on Google’s Vertex AI platform. Debuting in 2021 as a framework for streamlining the machine learning lifecycle, Vertex AI has since evolved to incorporate more generative AI capabilities.

Further solidifying the partnership, Google Cloud will also help fund Ginkgo’s development of foundation mod…

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Google Cloud partners with Mayo Clinic on generative AI

Google Cloud and Mayo Clinic will team up on generative AI for healthcare, the two organizations said today.

They intend to develop new capabilities for healthcare organizations to increase productivity, automate repetitive tasks and make administrative processes more efficient. Mayo Clinic and Google Cloud said they are also working with several unidentified healthcare organizations through this partnership.

Previously: The cloud is transforming medtech: Amazon, Microsoft, Google, J&J, Philips and GE Healthcare leaders explain

Mayo Clinic is already using Google Cloud’s Enterprise Search in Gen App Builder and looking for ways that search and generative AI can retrieve information more efficiently and effectively from healthcare records, research papers and clinical guidelines across a variety of formats and locations.

“Our prioritization of patient safety, privacy, and ethical considerations, means that generative AI can have a s…

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Asensus Surgical to collaborate with Google Cloud on machine learning for surgical robots

The Intelligent Surgical Unit powers the Senhance surgical robot system. [Image courtesy of Asensus Surgical]Asensus Surgical (NYSE:ASXC) announced today that it entered into a multi-year collaboration with Google Cloud.

The collaboration integrates Google Cloud’s secure cloud data architecture and machine learning into the Asensus surgical robot platform. It further expands the capabilities of Asensus’ performance-guided surgery framework through its Intelligent Surgical Unit (ISU).

Research Triangle Park, North Carolina–based Asensus designed its performance-guided surgery to enhance accuracy and efficiency. The company says its platform can help surgeons avoid complications and improve patient outcomes.

“We are thrilled to be collaborating with Google Cloud to realize and scale our Performance Guidance Surgery capabilities, by leveraging the data collected by our state-of-the-art ISU technology in conjunction with Google Cloud’s leading machi…

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Decode deaths with BERT to improve medical device safety and design

Michelle Wu is the founder and CEO of Nyquist Data. [Photo courtesy of Nyquist Data]

By Qiang Kou and Michelle Wu, Nyquist Data

A recent study shows that the number of death events in the FDA’s MAUDE (Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience) database has been vastly underestimated because many are not reported as deaths.

Lalani et al. manually reviewed 290,141 MAUDE reports and found that around 17% of the death events had been misclassified. That means the patient died, but the event was labeled as having “no consequences or impact to patient.”

The manual review requires expertise in different medical specialties and is too time-consuming to process millions of added reports. This problem can be viewed as a binary classification problem. And we can fine-tune the BERT model to solve it.

What is BERT?

BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. Rec…

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Verily lays off 15% of workforce

Google’s (NSDQ:GOOGL) Verily announced this week that, as part of a refined strategy, it eliminated 15% of its workforce.

Verily has more than 1,600 employees, so the layoff would be more than 200 workers, according to media sites.

On Jan. 11, CEO Stephen Gillett issued a letter to all Verily employees. Gillett took over the corner office this month after the company announced his promotion in September.

In the letter, titled “One Verily Forward,” Gillett laid out a refined strategy, prioritized portfolio and simplified operating model. That included a workforce reduction.

“I have promised you all transparency in what we’re doing, and this means we have eliminated approximately 15 percent of Verily roles due to discontinued programs, full control of Granular and Onduo, and redundancy in the new, centralized organization,” wrote Gillett. “Our most immediate priority is ensuring that these [Verily employees] are given t…

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How Google and iCAD will partner to advance AI mammography

iCAD’s AI for digital breast tomosynthesis provides a case score for each detection. (Image courtesy of iCAD)

iCAD will help Google Health get its AI mammography technology into clinical practice, while Google will help iCAD improve its algorithms and reach more patients through the cloud.

Google and cancer detection developer iCAD are teaming up on the development and commercialization of artificial intelligence (AI) for detecting breast cancer.

It’s Google Health’s first partnership with a mammography AI provider. The development and commercialization agreement is Google Health’s first deal to introduce its breast imaging AI into clinical practice through iCAD’s portfolio of AI products.

RELATED: How the cloud tools behind Google Maps and Photos can advance medtech

Nashua, New Hampshire-based iCAD (Nasdaq:ICAD) is licensing Google’s AI technology for breas…

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How Dexcom uses wearables to deliver differentiated diabetes management

Dexcom has worked with Garmin to create apps on Garmin devices that use real-time CGM data. [Image from Garmin]Dexcom (Nasdaq:DXCM) is one of the leaders in the diabetes technology space with its continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) technology.

The company’s current-generation Dexcom G6 CGM remains one of the biggest players in the CGM space. Meanwhile, its next-generation Dexcom G7 CGM has already launched in a number of countries overseas. The wearable device — which features a 60% size reduction from G6 — still awaits FDA clearance.

Dexcom sits among a number of companies developing wearables for helping people manage their diabetes. The company’s SVP for Product, Global Marketing, Apurv Kamath, spoke today at AdvaMed’s The MedTech Conference on the impact of wearables.

While he focuses on diabetes management, the panel on which he sat covered a range of uses for wearables in medtech. It featured Alissa Hsu Lynch, global lead for medtech…

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Google, Fitbit unveil smartwatch that can detect AFib

[Image from Google/Fitbit]Google today unveiled its first full-featured premium smartwatch developed with Fitbit’s health and fitness expertise.

In August, Google unveiled its new Fall lineup that included The Fitbit Sense 2. Google said at the time that it marks the company’s “most advanced health-focused smartwatch.” It features more than six days of battery life. The watch aims to help users manage stress and track heart health through sensors that can detect signs of AFib, among other things.

Google’s latest announcement features the Google Pixel Watch as part of the fall product line. The company called it a “natural extension” of the Pixel family in a blog post. It said the watch combines “smarts and helpfulness” with Fitbit’s health and fitness expertise.

Features include water resistance and scratch resistance with a design meant for wearing all day and night.

The watc…

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Verily receives $1B investment led by Alphabet, promotes president to corner office

Google’s (NSDQ:GOOGL) Verily announced today that it received a $1 billion investment led by parent company Alphabet.

South San Francisco, California-based Verily plans to use the funds to expand its businesses focused on precision health. New capital will go toward a variety of its core initiatives.

Those include real-world evidence generation, healthcare data, research and care and the underlying technology, Verily said. The company will also consider further investment in strategic partnerships, global business development and potential acquisitions.

During a recent DeviceTalks Weekly podcast, investor and advisor Steve Oesterle, formerly of Medtronic, said he was still all in on Google and Verily. Technology is the only logical way to deliver healthcare to a massive, fast-growing population, he said. “Whoever has the most data and knows how to aggregate it and analyze it is going to win in healthcare.”

Leadership changes at Verily

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Fitbit unveils fall lineup that includes AFib-detecting smartwatch

[Image from Google/Fitbit]Google’s Fitbit has announced its upcoming releases this fall, with one health-focused offering providing heart health tracking capabilities.

According to a blog post presenting the new offerings, the new Inspire 3, Versa 4 and Sense 2 — the latter of which being the heart health tracker — are all thinner and more comfortable than previous versions, offering all-day wearability and no need to charge the devices every day.

The Fitbit Sense 2 marks the company’s “most advanced health-focused smartwatch,” according to the post. It features more than six days of battery life to help users manage stress and track heart health through sensors that can detect signs of AFib, among other things.

The device marks Fitbit’s bid to better compete against the heart monitoring tech on the Apple Watch, which is FDA-cleared for irregular heart rhythm detection and notification.

Fitbit said that through its ECG a…

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Verily’s Onduo, Sword Health collaborate on virtual care

Onduo announced today that it entered into a strategic collaboration with Sword Health to broaden virtual care for diabetes and other conditions.

Sword Health, a digital musculoskeletal (MSK) care provider, will work with Onduo by Verily, an Alphabet precision health company, to offer complementary solutions, broadening access to virtual care benefits for chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension and mental health.

Get the full story at our sister site, Drug Delivery Business News.

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