Physicians Must Have a Say in Health IT Innovation

February 20, 2017
Angela Watkins

Physician input is crucial to drive real-world value and the feasibility of innovative healthcare technologies.

Patients deserve the physician’s input and expertise on the real-world value and feasibility of healthcare technologies.  But as health IT advances, too often input from front-line physicians gets bypassed by entrepreneurs and innovators in their quest to provide effective solutions.

Michael Hodgkins, physician and chief medical information officer for the AMA, referenced the implementation of EHRs as a key example. He recalls that it started as a clumsy system and continues to develop into a mature and efficient system with physician involvement.

Hodgkins said technology companies are becoming increasingly aware of the need for physician involvement regarding new technologies. He noted that physicians should not only be involved at the test stage, but their input is vital especially at the developmental stage. In an effort of collaboration, the AMA is actively bringing entrepreneurs and physicians together to achieve an end result of advancing patient-centered care.

At this year’s Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference in Orlando, Hodgkins will offer additional details in his session, “The Physician Voice within Healthcare Innovation.” The session is scheduled for Tuesday, February 21 from 10-11 a.m.

He recently discussed his HIMSS17 presentation with Physicians Practice.

Q: Why is it important for healthcare providers to be involved with technology?

Technology can further enhance the physician’s ability to provide patient-centered care, but a collaborative approach is necessary. Many entrepreneurs who work with technology are not familiar with the healthcare environment and medical knowledge. On the other hand, many physicians know process, procedures and regulatory requirements that are involved when providing health care services, but not a lot about tech.

Q:  How can physicians become involved with entrepreneurs?

The AMA is trying to connect physicians and entrepreneurs by forming partnerships. The AMA’s newest collaboration is with IDEA Labs. This student-run biotech incubator brings together top universities, up and coming technology companies, physicians, mentors, and investors.

Other partnerships include:

• MATTER, a Chicago-based technology incubator focused on health care. It allows entrepreneurs and physicians to collaborate on development of new technologies, services and products in a simulated health care environment.

• Health2047, a San Francisco-based healthcare innovation company combining strategy, design, and venture disciplines, working in partnership with leading companies, physicians, and entrepreneurs to improve health care.

Q: How will this new technology impact training received in medical schools?

The primary role of medical schools is to train physicians to provide the best quality care for patients - not train entrepreneurs. At the same time, medical school is a great path for anyone interested in contributing to the future of medicine, clinically or technically. Today’s medical schools understand the imperative to embrace technology. The AMA has been working with a consortium of medical schools in designing a new competency-based curriculum that introduces and exposes the students to new technology as well as presenting a comprehensive understanding of the health care delivery environment.