VA launches Lighthouse Lab API
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has announced the launch of a “beta” version of its Lighthouse Lab, a computer platform that offers software developers access to tools for creating mobile and web applications that will help veterans better manage their health care, services and benefits. “One of my top five priorities is to modernize our systems, and the announcement of the Lighthouse Lab supports VA’s move toward adopting commercial off-the-shelf products,” said David Shulkin, VA secretary, in a statement. “Lighthouse represents VA’s commitment to providing a digital experience in line with what veterans are getting from the private sector by rapidly bringing cutting-edge solutions into VA that can help us accommodate our veterans’ unique needs.” Lighthouse is the department’s application programming interface management platform and its architecture supports the VA’s move toward adopting commercial off-the-shelf products and innovative acquisition approaches, Shulkin said.
FDA approves 23andMe breast cancer gene screen
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved an at-home test that screens for several breast and ovarian cancer genes through the genetic testing company 23andMe. It is the first direct-to-consumer test to report on three specific BRCA1/BRCA2 breast cancer gene mutations that are most common in people of Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jewish descent. The test analyzes DNA collected from a self-collected saliva sample, and the report describes if a woman is at increased risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer, and if a man is at increased risk of developing breast cancer or may be at increased risk of developing prostate cancer. The test only detects three out of more than 1,000 known BRCA mutations and a negative result does not rule out the possibility that an individual carries other BRCA mutations that increase cancer risk. “This test provides information to certain individuals who may be at increased breast, ovarian or prostate cancer risk and who might not otherwise get genetic screening and is a step forward in the availability of DTC genetic tests” said Donald St. Pierre, acting director of the Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiological Health in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, in a statement. St. Pierre said the FDA approval comes with several caveats, and consumers and health care professionals should not use the test results to determine any treatments. The test report provides information describing what the results might mean, how to interpret results and where additional information about the results may be found. The FDA reviewed data for the test through the de novo premarket review pathway, a regulatory pathway for novel, low-to-moderate-risk devices that are not substantially equivalent to an already legally marketed device.
Teladoc expands partnership with Microsoft Azure
PURCHASE, N.Y. – Teladoc is expanding its collaboration with Microsoft by offerings its telehealth platform on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform. The partnership will expand access to telehealth for hospital and health systems across the U.S. “Teladoc is committed to providing a superior telehealth solution to our clients,” said Dr. Alan Roga, president, hospital and health systems, Teladoc, in a statement. “Whether it’s the Microsoft Azure platform or any of a number of other Microsoft applications that will support the success of our clients’ telehealth goals, our focus remains on providing a secure, flexible and reliable platform for all of our health system clients.” Teladoc is already leveraging Azure to deliver its telehealth solution to more than 250 hospitals and health systems across the country. “Consumer telehealth is now becoming central to hospital and health system strategy,” said Neil Jordan, general manager, Worldwide Health at Microsoft, in a statement. “In combination with the security and global scale of Microsoft Azure, we can jointly take Teladoc’s solution to market to successfully expand use cases in current clients and reach many more new ones, helping Teladoc’s provider customers improve the health care experience.”