May 14, 2024 | Volume XIII | Issue 20

AI could help assess patient acuity in emergency departments: study

Healthcare Dive reports:

A large language model (LLM) could help assess patient acuity in emergency departments, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open.

When given pairs of patient histories extracted from emergency department documentation, the LLM correctly picked the higher acuity patient in 89% of scenarios — comparable to a subset that used a physician reviewer. 

The research demonstrates LLMs’ potential to streamline triage in emergency departments, especially since the general-purpose models used in the study weren’t fine-tuned for medicine, the authors wrote. 

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How cannabis and psilocybin might help some of the 50 million Americans who are experiencing chronic pain

Kevin F. Boehnke | University of Michigan

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency announced in late April 2024 that it plans to ease federal restrictions on cannabis, reclassifying it from a Schedule I drug to the less restricted Schedule III, which includes drugs such as Tylenol with codeine, testosterone and other anabolic steroids. This historic shift signals an acknowledgment of the promising medicinal value of cannabis.

The move comes in tandem with growing interest in the use of psilocybin, the active component in magic mushrooms, for treatment of depression, chronic pain and other conditions. In 2018 and 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted a breakthrough therapy designation to psilocybin, meant to expedite drug development given that preliminary studies suggest it may have substantial therapeutic value over currently available therapies for treatment-resistant depression and major depressive disorder.

Both of these developments represent a dramatic change from long-standing federal policy around these substances that has historically criminalized their use and blocked or delayed research efforts into their therapeutic potential.

As an assistant professor of anesthesiology and a pain researcher, I study alternative pain management options, including cannabis and psychedelics.

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Cybersecurity event at Ascension disrupts clinical operations

Health News Florida reports:

Ascension, a nonprofit national health care system with several hospitals in North Florida, says it is investigating a cybersecurity event had disrupted clinical operations.

As of Thursday night, it was unknown if any patient data was affected.

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What to know about new COVID variants and the spread of bird flu and measles

PBS so far in 2024. To find out how concerned we should be about all of this, John Yang speaks with epidemiologist Katelyn Jetelina.

Watch the video HERE.

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