Digital health news briefs for 1/3/2018

By Jonah Comstock
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NHS set to offer AI system free to all hospitals. The BBC is reporting that new AI systems for interpreting cardiac and lung scans could save England's National Health Service a billion pounds. The cardiac system, called Ultromics, was developed at Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital. It checks radiology scans for signs of heart disease and will be offered to hospitals starting this summer. The other system, which will be commercialized by a startup called Optellium, aims to diagnose lung cancer from radiological imagery. 

Problems plagued well-funded insurance startup. CNBC's latest digital health investigative piece looks at Clover Health, an insurance startup that received $425 million in investor money to build a new kind of insurance company using data analytics. The report says the company is currently losing money and details some incidents from 2015 and 2016 showing that the company broke promises to customers, who in one case were charged for labs they were told would be covered and in another case were told they could see any provider they wished, then denied that choice. It also delves into alleged culture problems. 

Mindbody adds last-minute discount fitness class option. Mindbody, a California company that makes a consumer-facing app for connecting people with fitness classes and also enterprise tools for those offering classes, has introduced dynamic pricing into its business model. Dynamic pricing will allow businesses to drop the price for less popular classes or classes that are about to start. The Mindbody app will also be updated to add a "Last-Minute Offers" button for reduced price classes in the next 48 hours.

"There is a rich diversity of fitness experiences available for people today, and dynamic pricing enables anyone to find the right class for the right price nearby," Mindbody CEO Rick Stollmeyer said in a statement. "This is a powerful new capability that's a win-win for both studios and fitness seekers. Dynamic pricing will get more people into the studios exercising regularly and allow studios fill their existing classes, while adding new ones."

One more death knell for Kinect. MobiHealthNews wrote back in October about the healthcare implications of Microsoft ceasing to manufacture the Kinect, its motion-sensing camera which spawned a handful of health use cases when it was first released. Now Polygon is reporting that the Xbox One Kinect adapter, the only way to connect the device to the game consoles and computers, has also been officially discontinued. Going forward, it will be harder and harder to get Kinect hardware. Luckily, many companies have already begun to switch to alternatives as the built-in motion sensing capabilities of phones and tablets also continue to improve.