Melding physician-technology power to achieve better health care

Tanya Albert Henry , Contributing News Writer

X-rays. Antibiotics. Pacemakers. These are just a few of the scores of tools that have advanced medicine since doctors founded the AMA in 1847.

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Physicians didn’t disappear with these new technologies, treatments or machines that replaced manual tasks. Instead, they provided a path for physicians to advance clinical care. And today’s new tools— including augmented intelligence (AI)—should not be any different, AMA CEO and Executive Vice President James L. Madara, MD, has written in a blog post for Health2047 Inc.

“While powerful, these tools are simply the latest iteration in a long cycle of human invention and mastery that has enabled steady advances in diagnosis and therapy,” he wrote, noting that doctors shouldn’t fear the change. “They replace tasks, not jobs, and it is up to us to imagine the new frontiers they can help us reach.”

The AMA is working to maximize the positive impact technology and humans working together can have on the evolution of health care as a founding partner of Health2047, a collaborative health care innovation company that is conducting rapid exploration of innovative solutions to the biggest challenges that the nation’s 1.1 million physicians and their patients face.

Dr. Madara noted that two principles are embedded in work that AMA is already doing on this front and notes that these same principles are propelling Health2047’s efforts:

  • Successfully producing something of value requires performing a complicated series of discrete actions in a highly coordinated way.
  • The best outcomes require powerful technologies optimally mixed with distinctly human capabilities.

“The way we use powerful new technologies will define an era of personalized patient care and physician training,” Dr. Madara wrote. “I’m excited about the transformative possibilities unfolding before us, and about Health2047’s role in advancing the AMA’s mission to ‘promote the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health.’ ”

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Health2047 combines human action with powerful new technologies to open a new frontier and drive healthcare improvements on a large scale, Dr. Madara wrote. Efforts to address chronic disease are already underway.

Health2047 created First Mile Care, a Silicon Valley startup, that aims to amplify and scale the National Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP).

This evidence-based lifestyle change program has shown it can reverse prediabetes and has been around for nearly a decade. Still, less than half of 1% of the 84 million people in the U.S. living with prediabetes have completed a DPP, Dr. Madara writes.

First Mile Care’s DPP program uses a community-based approach that lets physicians provide patients with preventative care without adding work to their practices. The company is building a national network of certified DPP coaches who create cohorts at the ZIP-code level, leveraging a platform that makes DPP program participation accessible, convenient and scalable, Dr. Madara wrote.

On a separate front, to help ease physicians’ administrative burdens that have become more oppressive over the past decade, AMA Ed Hub™ is piloting a program with Health2047 to enhance and personalize physician training, education and credentialing.

“Imagine a future where continuing medical education is customized to what you actually see in your practice and the hassles of filling out forms for credentialing and licensing disappear,” Dr. Madara wrote. “That’s the pathway we are building.”

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Meanwhile, the AMA has been practicing the first principle Dr. Madara mentioned—value produced through a progression of coordinated actions—for the past few years as it tackles chronic disease, particularly diabetes and hypertension.

The AMA has leveraged expertise from across its many units to develop pilot programs and tools and initiatives to help physicians combat chronic diseases, Dr. Madara wrote. That includes:

  • Leveraging the JAMA Network™ for a deeper understanding of chronic disease.
  • Creating a Health Systems Science curriculum encompassing new cultural competency, predictive analytics, and longitudinal care capabilities.
  • Undertaking an Integrated Health Model Initiative (IHMI) to forge standardized innovation in collecting and delivering clinically valid health care data, aligned with CPT® panel-created codes valuated by RUC and accepted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
  • Developing digital learning modules and the robust AMA Ed Hub physician learning platform to disseminate these modules and a host of other assets.