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Top 5 Reads of the Week

The Theranos Mess and the Tech Press: A year ago, Elizabeth Holmes was being touted as the next Steve Jobs. Today, amidst accusations that Theranos lied about its blood testing technology, she’s scrambling to save her company and her job. As the light surrounding one of Silicon Valley’s brightest star dims, Nick Bilton of Vanity Fair considers the role that the tech press played in mythologizing Holmes by neglecting to ask the tough questions about her technology and her business plan. (Vanity Fair)

Medical Error is the Third Leading Cause of Death in the US: An article published in the BMJ this week estimated that 250,000 people die in the US each year due to medical errors—including misdiagnoses, surgical errors and incorrect medication. The article’s claims, based on research published in the Journal of Patient Safety in 2013, puts medical error as the 3rd leading cause of death in the US, behind heart disease and cancer. (STAT News)

  • Follow up read: Brigham and Women’s hospital is going public with stories of medical errors with the hopes that others can learn from past mistakes. (STAT News)

Why Do Doctors Join Health Tech Startups?: Doctors are migrating to the health tech space in droves—some jump ship altogether and work as startup founders, medical directors or chief medical officers, while others continue to practice and advise health startups part-time. Christina Farr of Fast Company found that doctors were inclined to work with health tech startups for two main reasons. The first is that they are dissatisfied with clinical practice—burnout, decreased doctor-patient interaction, and increased time interfacing with clunky documentation systems all contribute to their decision to pursue alternatives to clinical careers. Secondly, many doctors believe that they have more potential to impact patient lives on the startup scene and that they are particularly well suited to help entrepreneurs identify areas of clinical need that can be successfully addressed with technology. (Fast Company)

Why We’re Not Yet Ready For Surgery Robots: Earlier this year, Johnson & Johnson was moved to stop selling its FDA approved anesthesiology robot after pushback from physicians and professional groups. Although the technological capabilities of automated surgical systems are developing quickly—take, for example, Johns Hopkins’ Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR) which has demonstrated the ability to stitch more even sutures than experienced surgeons—makers have realized that they key to successfully integrating robots into the operating room is slow, incremental change. (Wired)

The Rise of the All-Digital Hospital: At the Humber River Hospital in Toronto, a small team of information technologists preside over the first all-digital hospital in North America, where robots deliver medication, driverless vehicles deliver food trays, and physicians and patients alike wear real-time location tracking devices. Beth Kutscher reports on this Canadian pioneer in healthcare technology, and the US hospitals that are following suit. (Modern Healthcare)

Abigail Ballou

Abigail Ballou

    Abby Ballou is the managing editor of MedTech Boston. She has a B.A. and M.Phil in English literature from NYU and the CUNY Graduate Center, respectively. When she isn't writing and editing for MedTech Boston, Abby enjoys reading, rock climbing, watching classic movies and listening to opera.

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