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Morning Medical Update: Can artificial intelligence be used to diagnose influenza?; ER’s Error Lands a 4-Year-Old in Collections (For Care He Didn’t Receive); A new law will help mobile clinics cast a wider safety net


The top news stories in primary care today.

Can artificial intelligence be used to diagnose influenza?

Researchers have trained AI to recognize influenza by showing it pharyngeal images and clinical information. In the study of 9,029 sick patients, AI identified 706 cases of influenza. The same group was then surveyed by physicians, and it was found that the AI was more accurate. The research team is hopeful that this will someday be used in telemedicine.

ER’s Error Lands a 4-Year-Old in Collections (For Care He Didn’t Receive)

Last year, a health insurance company issued a bill in a 4-year old’s name for care he did not receive. When Dr. Sara McLin took her son Keeling to the emergency room for a burn on his hand, doctors there dismissed him and said that there would be no charge for the visit because he would need to go to a burn center instead. Months later, the 4-year-old received a bill in the mail for $129 – from the first hospital. Since Keeling was listed as the guarantor, his mother was unable to access any information about the charge and as a result the bill went to collections. It was only after Kaiser Health News contacted the insurance company that the debt was forgiven and erased from Keeling’s record.

A new law will help mobile clinics cast a wider safety net

A recently passed law will make it easier for rural communities to pay for new mobile clinics. This comes months after an additional law, the MOBILE Health Care Act. Previously, mobile clinics were only allowed to spend grant money on pre-existing routes, eliminating the possibility of expansion. These clinics have gained popularity thanks to the services they provided during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, leaders are looking to expand to primary care and dentistry services.

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