DIGITAL HEALTH BRIEFING: Microsoft developing health chatbot platform – Lifespan aims to cut $182 million in costs with GE partnership – Hitachi working to reduce hospital readmissions

The tech giant is developing the platform as a part of its Healthcare NExT program and has partnered with Aurora Health Care to create the Aurora Digital Assistant, a new chatbot service that aims to demonstrate how digital assistants can benefit not only patients but healthcare providers and networks, too. Currently, the platform is being privately previewed to Microsoft’s new partners. Microsoft hopes the service will help make it easier for users to access medical info from their smartphones. Aurora patients can “text” the digital assistant in a conversational manner via an app,…

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‘How do I cut my sleeves off?’ – 2016’s most-Googled fashion questions answered!

1. ‘How to cut sleeves off a shirt?’ This year was largely focused on vandalising your clothes: razoring your jean hems, cropping your tops and, apparently, de-sleeving your shirts. To do this one, you need scissors and good arms. We’re fairly confident this question was made up. 2. ‘How do I start modelling?’ A bleak perennial on the search engine’s annual fashion question roundup but, anyway … To start, you need remarkable genes. If the year’s catwalk was anything to go by, you also needed curly hair and a decent…

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Opec countries agree first oil output cut in eight years

Opec countries have agreed their first supply cut in eight years in order to boost the price of oil. Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada, Opec’s president, said a cut of 1.2 million barrels a day would start from January. It comes after more than two years of depressed oil prices, which have more than halved since 2014, due to a supply glut on the market. The price of Brent crude jumped 9% to $51.57 a barrel, and US crude rose8.2% to $48.9%. According Mr Al-Sada, key non-Opec countries were party to…

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Barnsley’s school summer holidays cut by council

A council has announced a cut in the school summer holidays to under five weeks, bringing criticism from some parents and teachers. Barnsley Council in South Yorkshire announced term dates for academic year 2017-18 with a shorter summer break. There will be a longer school holiday at October half-term. Nick Bowen, principal of Horizon College, said the cut would “lead to difficulties in recruitment and retention of really good staff”. Councillor Tim Cheetham said: “The main differences to this year’s dates from previous years will support educational outcomes for pupils…

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