It’s no big secret that Silicon Valley is taking its time to disrupt the health care system, though not for lack of trying.
But from apps to cloud systems to internal computer systems that store patient information in hospitals that work to make patient information easily share-able, there’s still a disconnect and sometimes even a seeming unwillingness for doctors to adopt the technology.
“We have this incredibly fragmented system,” Dr. James Madara, CEO of the American Medical Association, America’s largest organisation of physicians, told Business Insider. “The physician is really at the epicentre of what has to happen around the patient, and in getting services and products into the marketplace, what we’ve learned is that physicians have relatively little input or guidance.”
That’s why Madara is launching Health2047, a company that hopes to get physician voices into the health-tech picture. Madara, who will serve as chairman alongside CEO Doug Given, a venture capitalist and doctor who specialises in infectious disease. The San Francisco-based company says they plan to work with startups and established healthcare and tech corporations to try and build products that physicians will use.
Given and Madara told Business Insider that these are the key ways they plan to help bridge the health-tech gap:
- Collaborating with enterprise and mobile tech companies
- Working internally to develop health-tech solutions
- Partnering with startups with the hope that health care technology could go from “Innovation Stage 1.0” to “Innovation Stage 5.0”
“A lot of noise but not very much signal”
The main problem, according to Given, is that while thousands of apps directed at improving health have come out in the past few years, only a tiny portion were assessed by actual doctors.
“Among the tens of thousands of initial apps that have emerged, we have a lot of noise but not very much signal,” Given said. “Very few of these went through a regulatory process to evaluate how they interact with patient safety and whether or not they were an integral part of the work flow.”
But there are a lot of physicians out there who Given thinks could be a huge untapped resource.
There are more than 700,000 physicians and surgeons in America, and they have a big influence over how money gets spent within the $3 trillion healthcare sector. That’s a group with a lot of potential influence. Physicians tend to be early adopters when it comes to robotic surgery or new treatments, for example. Meanwhile, they haven’t been as interested in information technology, and as of 2013, only 78% of physicians used electronic health records.
Madara says he thinks the reason for that is because the technology isn’t very good.
The AMA is investing $15 million to become a founding partner, and the name “Health2047” is a nod to the AMA, which was founded in 1847.
“In 1847, medicine in the United States was chaotic in different way,” Madara said. Quackery was rampant, education standards weren’t in place, which prompted the creation of the AMA to get everything in order. “Today, we’re facing a different, sophisticated environment … but we have a chaos that needs to be resolved by mid-century, and that is converting what’s not a system into a system.”
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