Patients give off a unique odor that can hold clues to any medical problems going on in their bodies, but it can’t be detected easily by humans. Also in technology news, doctors ponder the future of artificial intelligence and the role it has to play in medicine, and a look at Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s roll out of its new electronic health record system.

The New York Times: One day, a machine will smell whether you’re sick
Blindfolded, would you know the smell of your mom, a lover or a co-worker? Not the smells of their colognes or perfumes, not of the laundry detergents they use — the smells of them? Each of us has a unique “odorprint” made up of thousands of organic compounds. These molecules offer a whiff of who we are, revealing age, genetics, lifestyle, hometown — even metabolic processes that underlie our health. (Murphy, 5/1)

Stat: How is artificial intelligence like a self-driving Car? Doctors eye the future
Questions and uncertainty abounded. How well does artificial intelligence work, compared to fallible human doctors? What is the Food and Drug Administration going to say? And how do artificially intelligent systems make decisions, anyway? Dr. Maurice Zissen, a radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, turned that last question on its head by making an analogy to self-driving cars. As long as the car gets you to the right place safely — and potentially more safely than a human driver — does the rider need to understand why the car chose to make a left turn at precisely the moment it did? (Swetlitz, 5/1)

Modern Healthcare: Vanderbilt is a case study for the dreaded EHR conversion
The trauma of going live with a new electronic health record system is written all over Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s preparation plans. Vanderbilt is already reducing patient appointments at its more than 120 clinics and outpatient sites during the week of Nov. 2, when physicians and staff will start working in the new Epic Systems Corp. system, said Dr. Kevin Johnson, Vanderbilt’s EHR project leader. The Nashville-based academic health system also intends to beef up staffing in its emergency rooms that week, Johnson said, as patients who can’t secure clinic and outpatient appointments will likely show up at the ER for care. (Barkholz, 5/1)