Digital health continues to play a greater role in the practice of medicine. This includes, but is not limited to, digital solutions involving telemedicine and telehealth, mobile health (mHealth), wearables (e.g., Fitbit), remote monitoring, apps and others. The AMA maintains its focus on influencing health information technology (IT) with the goal of enhancing patient centered care, improving health outcomes and accelerating progress in health care.
Providing Digital Health Leadership
By recognizing the key challenges physicians face when implementing health IT—such as electronic health record (EHR) usability, interoperability and workflow—and the increase of direct-to-consumer digital health apps, the AMA is helping physicians navigate and maximize technology for improved patient care.
Reviewing the Digital Health Environment
The AMA recently conducted an extensive review of the digital health environment, which included academic, medical and industry research. It indicated that the majority of research and investment in digital health is focused on outcomes and controlling costs, despite clinical efficacy being a primary concern of physicians. Learning from past experience with EHRs and to ensure the physician perspective is represented in the design, implementation and evaluation of new technologies, the AMA recently conducted a research study to accomplish the following:
- Provide a summary view of physicians' current mindset as it relates to digital health
- Understand what motivates and attracts them to want to use various emerging digital tools
- Recognize their requirements for successfully integrating them into patient care and their practices
Recognizing the importance of physicians providing feedback to health tech entrepreneurs for improved solutions, the AMA has developed a beta version of the AMA Physician Innovation Network—a platform to connect and match physicians and the health tech community.
EHR Usability and Interoperability
A recent time-motion study, conducted by the AMA and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, found that for every hour of face-to-face time with patients, physicians spend nearly 2 additional hours on their EHR and clerical tasks throughout the day. Read the qualitative study (PDF).
To improve EHR usability, the AMA and MedStar Health's National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare developed a dashboard based on the science of user-centered design that increases transparency of EHR vendor usability processes against best practices.
In addition, after an AMA-RAND Corporation study on physician satisfaction, the AMA provided 8 EHR requirements. EHR design and configuration must:
- Enhance physicians' ability to provide high-quality patient care
- Support team-based care
- Promote care coordination
- Offer product modularity and configurability
- Reduce cognitive workload
- Promote data liquidity
- Facilitate digital and mobile patient engagement
- Expedite user input into product design and post-implementation feedback
Improving Care: Priorities to Improve Electronic Health Record Usability: Download report (PDF).
To enact these recommendations the AMA is partnering with multiple stakeholders to improve EHR usability for physicians.
Read about the AMA's efforts to improve key digital health areas—from the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) to telemedicine, mobile health and health information exchanges.
Learn how to help your practice protect patient information under HIPAA and meet reporting requirements under meaningful use and MACRA.
Digital Health Care Initiatives and Partners
Stakeholder partnerships supporting interoperability
AmericanEHR Partners organizes information through education, social media and peer contributed data to optimize decision making among an online community of clinicians who are actively using information technology.
The AMA is a founding member of Carequality, a multistakeholder organization focused on providing seamless connectivity across networks. Initiatives include the Carequality and CommonWell Health Alliance agreement to advance interoperability.
MedStar Health's National Center
To make the design and testing of EHRs more transparent and to improve for patient safety and physician satisfaction, the AMA has partnered with MedStar Health's National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare to develop a framework to evaluate the usability of EHRs. Learn about the framework and how 20 common EHRs fared in the evaluation. For more information, read the report in AMA Wire.
The Sequoia Project
The AMA is a founding member of The Sequoia Project, a nonprofit organization that provides program support for health IT interoperability initiatives, including eHealth Exchange and Carequality. The AMA is responsible for finding new health IT opportunities to share with the entire Sequoia community and for providing recommendations to the Sequoia board.
The goal of the SMART Initiative, created by Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, is to ensure electronic health record (EHR) systems work better for physicians and patients. A key component of this effort is the development of a flexible information infrastructure that allows for free, open development of plug and play applications (apps) to increase interoperability among health care technologies, including EHRs, in a more cost-effective way.
Stakeholder Partnerships Supporting Digital Innovations
AMA Interaction Studio at MATTER
The AMA Interaction Studio at MATTER facilitates the development of technologies to improve health care delivery, patient-physician interactions and quality of care.
Sling Health is a student-run biotechnology incubator, to help inspire and support cutting-edge medical technology development from the next generation of young entrepreneurs studying at Washington University in St. Louis, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Pennsylvania and University of Minnesota.