New tech aims to improve EHRs, patient interactions, cybersecurity

Tanya Albert Henry , Contributing News Writer

When the EHR was introduced, physicians struggled as recording information into the system detracted from the personal interactions they were used to giving patients—and wanted to continue delivering.

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A big part of the problem: Physicians weren’t involved enough early on in developing EHR systems, and the same is true for other types of health care innovations. But that’s changing.

There’s a recognition that technological advances taking place in medicine today must involve physicians early on, according to Lawrence Cohen, PhD, the CEO of Health2047, the Menlo Park, California-based subsidiary of the AMA created to make a meaningful and measurable impact on the U.S. health care system by the AMA’s 200th anniversary.

Cohen discussed the importance of involving physicians in technological advancements and how the latest innovations will affect medicine and how health care is delivered in the future during an episode of “AMA Update.”

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Cohen is most excited about how new technologies are focusing on that patient-physician interaction that physicians felt were disrupted when EHRs became widely used.

“It is taking the friction out of that interaction, interestingly, because it's using technology to make the interaction more personal. It's using technology that allows the physician and the patient to focus on what's in front of them in the room,” Cohen said. “Today, the way people are thinking about the use of technology in improving health care is really interestingly—almost paradoxically—directed towards making that physician-patient interaction a much more personal and productive interaction.”

Health2047 helps find, fund and scale early-stage startups working to transform health care. The company’s leaders also help connect physicians with health care entrepreneurs and industry leaders working on new technologies to improve medical care.

“There actually is a relatively large subset of physicians that are very tech-savvy and we rely on them to help us bridge the gap,” Cohen said. “But importantly … you need the physician at the table at the beginning of the conversation, and you need that rapport between the technical person and the physician to develop from day one.”

The EHR is a trove of data that holds insights into diseases, treatments and other information. Technology needs to be able to access the data and turn it into insights and turn the insights into action.

With chronic diseases accounting for about 90% of health care spending now, the U.S. health system developed to deal with acute disease needs to adjust. Health care AI can help physicians as they determine the best course of treatment for a patient.

The AMA House of Delegates uses the term augmented intelligence (AI) as a conceptualization of artificial intelligence that focuses on AI’s assistive role, emphasizing that its design enhances human intelligence rather than replaces it.

“You can imagine that there are ways that you can provide the physician with data which is going to help them diagnostically or perhaps even choose therapeutics. So, it's decision support, but it's decision support across the entire spectrum,” Cohen said.

Health2047 has a portfolio company that's working on that: RecoverX. The company is on a mission to ensure trustworthy, evidence-grounded AI is available for physicians and other health care experts, as well as for the health of all patients.

It “is trying to be essentially the physician's augmented-intelligence assistant,” Cohen said.

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Health2047 is also working with the startup HEAL Security to keep health care data safe. HEAL Security focuses on developing solutions to the enormous problem of health care cybersecurity threats.

HEAL is different because it’s focused on “curating” the mass of health care information and providing “actionable insights” to chief information and technology officers.

“The more our health care system is distributed, the more data is being held in different places, the greater the chance of security breaches,” Cohen said.

AMA Update” covers health care topics affecting the lives of physicians and patients. Hear from physicians and experts on public health, advocacy issues, scope of practice and more—because who’s doing the talking matters. You can catch every episode by subscribing to the AMA’s YouTube channel or the audio-only podcast version, which also features educational presentations and in-depth discussions.