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AMA, Health2047 to Make Health IT Focused on the Physician

“There are abundant white spaces inviting technological solutions.”

By Sara Heath

The driving force behind the American Medical Association’s (AMA’s) $15 million investment in the startup Health2047 is to work on health IT that is going to benefit the physician and the patient, according to James L. Madara, MD, CEO of the AMA.

In a press call following the organization’s announcement this morning, Madara explained that investing in Health2047 was a part of AMA’s overall goal to create a health IT infrastructure that would benefit physicians and their ability to provide care to patients in an evolving healthcare landscape.

Specifically, Madara explained the context under which AMA decided to invest in Health2047, explaining that as the healthcare industry evolves, focusing on how the physician delivers care is critical.

“After all, physicians, with their pen, make decisions that cover about 80 percent of the healthcare spend in the United States,” he said.

Physicians are currently facing several industry changes, including a shift from acute to chronic disease that takes up a considerable amount of the national healthcare spend, as well as a change in site of care.

“And now we’re detecting a movement from ambulatory into the home,” Madara explained. “So these fundamental factors of disease burden are probably what’s going to drive the technology of tomorrow and what we need technologically.”

What Madara and the AMA found was a market for health IT investment to cater to physicians and these industry changes.

“There are abundant white spaces inviting technological solutions,” he confirmed.

Thus, Madara said, the AMA saw three key areas that they could focus on by investing in Health2047, including the restructuring of medical education, the re-engineering of physician practices for more time with patients, and the consideration of chronic disease burden and how to structure systems to deal with that.

“[W]e’re now formalizing this in a way that connects our broad knowledge, our broad experience – which we continue to explore because this is all evolving, we have to have our finger on that pulse during this time – and to take this knowledge, our connection with physicians, our content expertise, and apply that in some bridging way to the technology center in Silicon Valley,” Madara explained. “That is what Health2047 is all about.”

Health2047’s CEO Douglass Given, MD, mirrored those sentiments, explaining that the company will be leveraging its partnership with AMA and utilizing its access to physician testimony to develop products.

“The physician perspective has often been overlooked, particularly by the technology community and we think there’s a great opportunity to improve the fit and the way that we enable the practice of healthcare if we pay attention to this and leverage and really take advantage of the physician insight,” Given said.

Additionally, both Madara and Given explained that Health2047 will develop its products as a part of a design system, rather than arbitrarily dropping them into the healthcare industry.

“Recognize that it is a system that we’re dealing with, and requires system engineering thinking, and not just products dropped down into the middle of a system,” Madara says. “System engineering principles indicate that when you drop something into a system, it has effects on other elements beside the element that you drop in. So this broad understanding is fundamental to developing the next phase of technology.”

To that end, Health2047 will work by developing products that will be scalable within the healthcare industry. According to Given, developers will work on a product for a 90-day period and then work with other industry stakeholders such as the AMA to develop the products usability within the healthcare industry.

“Typical rapid prototyping teams will spend 90 days on a project or on a solution working with best-available ideas and bringing together both the AMA insights and then the design engine and we’ll spin demonstrations and prototypes which we believe can be investable concepts and then push those back into the economy,” Given said.

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