Digital health news briefs for 9/6/2017

By Jonah Comstock

Questions raised about IBM Watson for Oncology. A new report from STAT suggests that IBM has been overpromising and underdelivering with the cancer treatment application of its artificial intelligence engine. The article points out a lack of independent, peer-reviewed studies validating the software, and charges that Watson "doesn’t create new knowledge and is artificially intelligent only in the most rudimentary sense of the term." Additionally, STAT suggests, the training of the device at Memorial Sloan Kettering potentially biases its suggestions toward upper-class Americans.

Doctor on Demand ready for the next hurricane. It's been widely reported that a number of telemedicine companies offered free or reduced cost care to victims of Hurricane Harvey in Houston. At least one -- Doctor on Demand -- is offering the same in advance of Hurricane Irma, which is expected to make landfall in Florida. The offer extends through September 15th.

23andMe raising $200 million. TechCrunch is reporting that consumer genomics company 23andMe is in the midst of a $200 million funding round, led by Sequoia Capital with interest in participation from Fidelity. This round, valued at $1.5 billion, would early double the company's current funding, which stands at $230 million.

Product launches from NovuHealth, MedAptus. Health engagement company NovuHealth has launched Novu Health Satisfaction, a new tool for improving member engagement for health plans. The tool uses data analytics to help plans build relationships with their members using incentives.  Additionally, Boston-based MedAptus has launched ASSIGN for Nurses, a new software program designed to match the right patient with the right nurse based on factors such as patient acuity, geography, continuity of care.