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Health IT Innovation Centered on the Physician-Patient Interface

Driving health IT innovation that focuses on the needs of physicians and patients rather than administrators is top of mind at AMA.

AMA is working to ensure health IT innovation is centered on the needs of clinicians and patients.

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- Several efforts to put physicians and patients at the center of health IT innovation are currently underway at AMA.

Speaking at the 2018 AMA Annual Meeting, AMA CEO James L. Madara, MD, detailed the association’s approach to resolving challenges tied to chronic disease management, administrative burden, medical education, and other areas in need of improvement. 

Specifically, AMA is working to improve provider satisfaction and practice sustainability in an industry plagued by physician burnout.

“Having the goal of removing obstacles that interfere with patient care and also waste the time of physicians,” said Madara, “These efforts include our advocacy work, elements of our innovation ecosystem, and our work on mitigating physician burnout.”

For example, the Accelerating Change in Medical Education (ACE) initiative aims to improve physician satisfaction with health IT and EHR technology by ensuring medical students are well-equipped to enter a highly digitized healthcare industry from the start of their careers.

READ MORE: AMA CEO Outlines Problems with EHR Use, Clinical Data

“This spring, we celebrated the first graduating classes from our ACE consortium schools,” said Madara. “Graduates who have been in the ACE consortium since their entry into medical school. These tech savvy physicians entered their residency with new skills and competencies proven by measurement.”

ACE graduates enter the field with an awareness of how to effectively use EHR technology and have high expectations for how EHR systems should evolve to meet the demands of a complex, rapidly-evolving healthcare system.

ACE graduates also have a thorough knowledge of social determinants of health, population health, and the importance of collaboration, added Madara.

“We’ve produced new physicians who are adaptive learners, capable team leaders with a greater awareness of policy,” he said. “This is a major shift in medical education. Consequently, this requires creation of resources for this new type of physician throughout her career.”

AMA is currently working to further support health IT-focused education efforts through its digital education hub.

READ MORE: AMA Calls for Stability, Simplicity in Future MIPS Scoring

“This innovation hub takes broad AMA content areas ranging from opioid and practice management to ethics and JAMA all reduced to simple and effective learning modules that can be accessed by any means — desktop, pad, or mobile,” explained Madara.

The association is also collaborating with large IT players to spur innovation. In April, AMA announced a new partnership with Google to launch the AMA Health Care Interoperability and Innovation Challenge.

“In the last few months we partnered with Google and launched a corporate challenge to create a new means by which accurate home blood pressure measurements can be automatically collected in digital form and not only be sent electronically to the patient’s record but also organized within that record,” said Madara.

“This initiative has already generated interest from more than 20 entrepreneurs,” he continued. “That work complements the AMA’s integrated health model initiative launched last fall — an initiative in which various data elements related to various disease or states can be better organized.”

In the future, AMA will focus on improving interoperability and clinical data organization within EHR systems. AMA will continue to collaborate with health IT industry leaders to drive improvements in these areas.

READ MORE: AMA Leads Call for Addressing EHR Quality Reporting Programs

“Key to these relationships is that we define problems that need solutions from the vantage point of the patient-physician interface — not from the vantage of the administrative level,” emphasized Madara. “That means we’re flipping the current construct for medical innovation.”

Improving clinical data organization is just the beginning.

“We also need that data to be connected,” Madara said. “And that’s the concept behind the new company Akiri, which is the first spin-out from our pioneering Silicon Valley innovation company, Health2047.”

Health2047 is working closely with AMA and other partners to develop and commercialize health IT solutions related to data liquidity, chronic care management, clinical productivity, and payment.

“Akiri might be viewed as a utility for permissions-based and secure transport of health data,” said Madara. “And importantly, it has been crafted to reduce costs and reduce effort while creating improved data sharing.”

Health2047 is expected to produce more spin-outs later this year.

These initiatives and forthcoming efforts from AMA are intended to re-orient health IT innovation so that improving physician satisfaction and patient care delivery are the primary focus of new technologies.

“We simply need to avoid what has happened in the past — solutions created at the administrative level,” said Madara.

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