AMA backs virtual care, but with rules

The American Medical Association recently offered policy recommendations that, if implemented, would place restrictions on telemedicine, or virtual medical care.

The recommendations came as the Chicago-based organization of physicians and medical students formally announced its support for the practice, claiming telemedicine could “greatly improve access and quality of care while maintaining patient safety.”

The AMA recommended, for instance, that physicians be licensed in the state their patient lives in, and that patient-physician relationships be established before the provision of telemedicine services (such as through a face-to-face examination or consultation with another physician).

Such regulation could discourage physicians from treating patients virtually if they are in other states, for instance.

— Mohana Ravindranath

Machine learning
Microsoft unveils prediction service

Microsoft is introducing a new Internet-based service that helps companies use data analysis to predict behavior, in a bid to gain more customers in the fast-growing field of machine learning.

The service lets users more easily build algorithms to predict buying patterns, electricity usage and more. The work and results can be hosted on the Web through Microsoft’s Azure cloud offering. The new product, dubbed Azure Machine Learning, has been in a trial period for about a year and now has about 100 customers testing it, General Manager Eron Kelly said.

Microsoft, under new chief executive Satya Nadella, is trying to boost its focus on cloud software as more companies gravitate to hosting data and other operations on the Web. The software maker also wants to bolster usage of Azure as it tries to narrow the gap with market leader’s Web Services business.

— Bloomberg News