The Fourth Wave: Digital Health Newsletter — Nov 20, 2018 — No. 113

The Fourth Wave: Digital Health Newsletter — Nov 20, 2018 — No. 113

My newsletter for Nov 20, 2018 is viewable here and inline text below, without images.
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This is a crowdsourced list of global conferences and events focused on or relevant to digital health.


Digital Health World Congress 2018 Winter Edition, Nov 28-29 in London, UK

Digital Medicine and Medtech Showcase, Jan 8-9, 2019 in San Francisco, CA

Please contact me for options on event promotion, including having your event featured at the top of this list, featured in my weekly Digital Health group announcements, newsletter, and on Twitter.

Please provide the event name, date(s), event website link (direct and not a shortened url), one-paragraph event description, the venue name, and location (city and country). Not all events are relevant to digital health and webinars are typically not allowed, but you can ask me about promotion options.

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The Fourth Wave: Digital Health Newsletter for Nov 20


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the high profile U.S. Representative-elect for New York’s 14th congressional district, is leveraging digital technology—particularly social media—in powerful and profound ways. These include improving accessibility to politics for the hearing impaired, empowering women in the workplace, battling misogyny, and correcting false media reports.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s Instagram feed—which recently featured a picture of her along with fellow newly-elected congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib and the caption “Squad”—spurred Washington Post columnist Monica Hesse to write: “But categorizing the posts as merely giggly “squad goals” is missing a deeper point, I think. There’s sophisticated work going into the messaging. These social media posts aren’t just about female friendship; they’re also about the behind-the-scenes strategies women in mostly male workplaces have always employed to get stuff done.”

And when a recent article in Politico stated that she had a “closed-door argument” with another lawmaker, Ocasio-Cortez responded with a correction in a tweet: “This is completely false – I never even have a direct interaction with him today. When did Politico turn into TMZ?”. (Note: TMZ is a tabloid news website.)

In another highly-publicized Twitter engagement, Washington Examiner reporter Eddie Scarry tweeted a photo of Rep. Ocasio-Cortez with the comment: “I’ll tell you something: that jacket and coat don’t look like a girl who struggles.” In response, not only did tweet: “Girl. Noun. A female child, from birth to full growth. E.g. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is not a girl.”, but tens of thousands of people responded with tweets mocking the conservative journalist. Ocasio-Cortez herself replied that: “If I walked into Congress wearing a sack, they would laugh & take a picture of my backside. If I walk in with my best sale-rack clothes, they laugh & take a picture of my backside. Dark hates light – that’s why you tune it out. Shine bright & keep it pushing.✨”

And when Scarry deleted his tweet, Ocasio-Cortez added: “Oh, does @eScarry think he can delete his misogyny without an apology? I don’t think so. You’re a journalist – readers should know your bias.”


Google’s healthcare-focused subsidiary DeepMind—which provides its “Streams” AI-powered digital assistant app to nurses and doctors at several NHS hospitals (and has previously run into controversy over gathering data on 1.6 million patients without informing them)—will be moved into the main company and no longer be independent of Google.

The move breaks DeepMind’s pledge that “data will never be connected to Google accounts or services”. Responding to the announcement, Julia Powles, a lawyer and privacy expert tweeted: “This is TOTALLY unacceptable. DeepMind repeatedly, unconditionally promised to *never* connect people’s intimate, identifiable health data to Google. Now it’s announced…exactly that. This isn’t transparency, it’s trust demolition. (grabs: Powles & Hodson)”


Plan International is calling on the South Sudanese government to investigate a Facebook auction which led to the marriage of a 17-year-old girl. Facebook did take down the post, but not in time. A spokesperson for Facebook  stated: “Any form of human trafficking — whether posts, pages, ads or groups is not allowed on Facebook. We removed the post and permanently disabled the account belonging to the person who posted this to Facebook.”


While unfortunate, the recent announcement that Novartis and Verily have canceled their efforts to create a glucose-monitoring smart contact lens, it should come as no surprise since, in 2016, it wasreported that a former Verily manager described the device as just “slideware” that didn’t exist outside of PowerPoint presentations. In a company blog post, Verily’s CTO Brian Otis indicated that: “Our clinical work on the glucose-sensing lens demonstrated that there was insufficient consistency in our measurements of the correlation between tear glucose and blood glucose concentrations to support the requirements of a medical device. In part, this was associated with the challenges of obtaining reliable tear glucose readings in the complex on-eye environment. For example, we found that interference from biomolecules in tears resulted in challenges in obtaining accurate glucose readings from the small quantities of glucose in the tear film. In addition, our clinical studies have demonstrated challenges in achieving the steady state conditions necessary for reliable tear glucose readings.”


The FDA has issued a Federal Register notice regarding promoting the development of digital health tools to inform the safe & effective use of prescription drugs. In the announcement, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. states: “As the practical value of digital health technologies continues to advance, consumers are increasingly using these new tools to inform their everyday health decisions. Many of these advances have been on the delivery side of healthcare, where digital tools are helping inform medical decisions by patients and providers. As part of these opportunities, the FDA wants to promote the development of digital technologies that can also help guide the safe and effective use of medicines, to help patients improve their health.”

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Copyright © 2018 Paul Sonnier, Story of Digital Health

Paul Sonnier
Advisor ⋅ Author ⋅ Speaker ⋅ Technologist ⋅ Social Entrepreneur
Book: The Fourth Wave: Digital Health
Founder, Digital Health group on LinkedIn
Creator, Story of Digital Health
Twitter: @Paul_Sonnier
San Diego, CA, USA


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