With the addition of newly insured patients thanks to the ACA, the AAMC predicts that there will be a shortage of up to 31,000 primary care physicians by 2025. Dr. Leslie Saxon of USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies is trying to help improve access by virtually cloning herself and other physicians to increase the number of patients they are each able to see. It’s almost like telemedicine – but patients talk to programmed, virtual representations of their physicians, rather than humans on call. In addition to expanding access, these virtual doctors are backed by clinical decision support tools that are meant to take the bias out of medicine, and can even collect and use data from wearable devices.
Back in August the small pharmaceutical company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, acquired sole distribution rights in the US for a drug used to treat a life-threatening parasitic infection. They immediately hiked the price from $13 to $750 a pill. Public outrage over the past week regarding this huge hike in price has shined a bright light on an already hot topic in healthcare: high prescription drug prices. Check out this short, straightforward article from the NY Times to get some background on the complexities of increasing prescription drug prices in the United States.