Platform helps physicians, entrepreneurs meet their match

Sara Berg, MS , News Editor

Creating new tools that build on physician requirements is critical to developing solutions that work for patients and doctors. Yet making it easy for doctors to find digital health startups where their expertise can help—and vice versa—has proven to be an obstacle to creating an innovation space that includes physician insights from the ground up.

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Recognizing the importance of physician feedback for health care entrepreneurs to improve solutions, the AMA recently launched the Physician Innovation Network (PIN), an online community that connects and matches physicians with digital health companies and entrepreneurs. Through the use of the PIN platform, the voice, experience and needs of physicians can be heard and incorporated into new products as they are developed.  

“There’s a growing recognition from entrepreneurs that physicians’ insights are paramount to ensuring that a product is successful in the market,” said Meg Barron, AMA’s director of digital health strategy.

"When health care technologies are built without physician input, there’s a higher risk of design flaws and other issues that make the technologies less valuable to the medical community and patients,” she added. 

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The PIN platform creates opportunities for physicians to choose the types of companies and innovators they would like to collaborate with. By joining the AMA Physician Innovation Network, physicians explore paid and volunteer opportunities with health tech companies, learn about entrepreneurship from like-minded innovators and access experts through virtual panel discussions.

A recent panel discussion, “Giving Physicians a Seat at the Health Care Innovation Table,” in the AMA Physician Innovation Network digital community offered a chance to join key stakeholders to talk about how integrating the physician voice in health care innovation can help develop and improve solutions. This discussion, which rans through Oct. 19, is still available for viewing and open to AMA members and non-members.

A dozen expert panelists took part in the discussion. These included AMA Chief Medical Information Officer Michael Hodgkins, MD, MPH; Steven Collens, CEO of the health tech incubator MATTER; and Arlen Meyers, MD, president and CEO at the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs.

The other discussion panelists were:

  • Prudence Gourguechon, MD, president, Invantage Advising.
  • Erik Halvorsen, PhD, director, Texas Medical Center Innovation Institute.
  • Ben Kleinman, co-founder, LatticeWork.
  • Neil Patel, president, Healthbox Chicago.
  • Gajen Sunthara; director, innovation research and development, Boston Children’s Hospital.
  • Jack Stockert, MD, managing director of strategy and business development, Health2047.
  • AMA Trustees Jesse Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH, and Ryan Ribeira, MD, MPH.

Also participating in the discussion was Frederick Browne, MD, vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer at Griffin Hospital in Connecticut.

In a post at the Physician Innovation Network blog, Dr. Browne describes himself as a “doctor-preneur” and attributes his success in private-equity investment to three key elements: getting to know CEOs of companies he has invested in; his medical experience; and hiring an investment adviser. Before getting involved on the investing side, Dr. Browne recommended, physicians should do their homework, invest only what they are comfortable losing, reduce chances of loss by diversifying and use retirement investments.

He also encouraged physicians to join PIN.

“I was introduced to the American Medical Association’s Physician Innovation Network as I became more involved with private-equity companies,” Dr. Browne wrote. “It has been a pleasure working with this team and I look forward to expanding on my experience in digital health investing and advising in future blogs.”

More than 600 users are already participating on the PIN platform, and there are already stories of physician-entrepreneur matches as detailed in a recent article. Physicians matched with entrepreneurs through PIN have consulted on solutions to improve operating-room workflow and eliminate the guesswork, frustration and pain from spinal punctures.

To ensure new digital health solutions facilitate effective care and relationships between patients and physicians, the AMA brings the physician voice to innovators and entrepreneurs.

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