The Health News USA November 29 2017

  • Facebook Inc. will expand its pattern recognition software to other countries after successful tests in the U.S. to detect users with suicidal intent. Facebook began testing the software in the United States in March, when the company started scanning the text of Facebook posts and comments for phrases that could be signals of an impending suicide.
  • UnitedHealth Group shares dipped in after-hours trading Monday on news that the managed health-care giant issued a disappointing earnings forecast. Shares dropped more than 2% in trading after the bell, before regaining ground. Shares were recently down about 1.5%. UnitedHealth projected revenue for 2018 that would be only marginally higher than most earlier analyst estimates, which called for revenue of $218 billion dollars next year.
  • According to the Government Accountability Office, the Department of Veterans Affairs failed to report ninety percent of potentially dangerous medical providers in recent years to a national database designed to prevent them from crossing state lines and endangering patients elsewhere. The GAO also found that VA officials didn’t report any of the problem clinicians to state medical boards that could have yanked their licenses.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 29th of November 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-facebook-suicide/facebook-to-expand-artificial-intelligence-to-help-prevent-suicide-idUSKBN1DR1YT

Facebook Incorporated will expand its pattern recognition software to other countries after successful tests in the U.S. to detect users with suicidal intent, the world’s largest social media network said on Monday. Facebook began testing the software in the United States in March, when the company started scanning the text of Facebook posts and comments for phrases that could be signals of an impending suicide.

Facebook has not disclosed many technical details of the program, but the company said its software searches for certain phrases that could be clues, such as the questions “Are you ok?” and “Can I help?” If the software detects a potential suicide, it alerts a team of Facebook workers who specialize in handling such reports. The system suggests resources to the user or to friends of the person such as a telephone help line. Facebook workers sometimes call local authorities to intervene. Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president for product management, said the company was beginning to roll out the software outside the United States because the tests have been successful. During the past month, he said, first responders checked on people more than one hundred times after Facebook software detected suicidal intent. Facebook said it tries to have specialist employees available at any hour to call authorities in local languages.

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Last year, when Facebook launched live video broadcasting, videos proliferated of violent acts including suicides and murders, presenting a threat to the company’s image. In May Facebook said it would hire three thousand more people to monitor videos and other content.
Rosen did not name the countries where Facebook was deploying the software, but he said it would eventually be used worldwide except in the European Union due to sensitivities, which he declined to discuss. Facebook knows lots about its two point one billion users – data that it uses for targeted advertising – but in general the company has not been known previously to systematically scan conversations for patterns of harmful behavior.
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Rosen declined to say if Facebook was considering pattern recognition software in other areas, such as non-sex crimes.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/27/unitedhealth-shares-dip-on-disappointing-2018-earnings-forecast.html

UnitedHealth Group shares dipped in after-hours trading Monday on news that the managed health-care giant issued a disappointing earnings forecast. Shares dropped more than two percent in trading after the bell, before regaining ground. Shares were recently down about one point five percent.  UnitedHealth projected revenue for two thousand eighteen that would be only marginally higher than most earlier analyst estimates, which called for revenue of two hundred eighteen billion dollars next year.

The company estimates revenue will be between two hundred twenty three billion dollars and two hundred twenty five billion dollars for two thousand eighteen. UnitedHealth projected adjusted net earnings of ten dollars and fifty five cents to ten dollars and eighty five cents per share for next year. Analysts on average had estimated the company’s adjusted net earnings would be ten dollars and eighty one cents per share in two thousand eighteen.

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UnitedHealth also said it expects revenue for fiscal year two thousand seventeen will exceed two hundred billion dollars, with adjusted net earnings approaching ten dollars per share. ….

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/11/27/va-failed-report-90-potentially-dangerous-medical-providers-gao-confirms/890582001/

According to the Government Accountability Office, the Department of Veterans Affairs failed to report ninety percent of potentially dangerous medical providers in recent years to a national database designed to prevent them from crossing state lines and endangering patients elsewhere. The watchdog’s conclusions in the report to be released Monday confirm findings of a recent USA TODAY investigation that found the VA has for years concealed medical mistakes and misconduct by health care workers. In response to that story published in October, the VA vowed to overhaul its policies for reporting clinicians to authorities.

The GAO also found that VA officials didn’t report any of the problem clinicians to state medical boards that could have yanked their licenses. The findings are based on a sampling of five VA hospitals, where only nine health care workers warranted reporting since two thousand fourteen. But if those findings hold true across all of the VA’s roughly one hundred fifty hospitals, potentially hundreds of medical providers weren’t reported. In one case examined by the GAO, a VA hospital director failed to report a clinician who went on to work at a private sector hospital, which revoked the worker’s privileges two years later, suggesting patients were endangered.

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Representative Phil Roe, Republican from Tennessee, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, asked GAO to investigate and is chairing a hearing on the findings Wednesday.
Under VA policies, hospitals are supposed to report to the national database doctors and dentists who leave while under investigation for medical mistakes or when their clinical credentials are curtailed or revoked because of poor care. They are also supposed to report medical providers to state licensing authorities if they “raise reasonable concern for the safety of patients.”

In all, a total of one hundred forty eight providers required clinical reviews after concerns were raised about their care between October two thousand thirteen and March two thousand seventeen. But in nearly half those cases, the hospitals could not provide documentation that the reviews occurred.

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