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AMA’s New Online Platform Looks to Bring Together Docs, Health Tech Companies

October 24, 2017
by Rajiv Leventhal
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A new online platform from the American Medical Association (AMA) aims to bring physicians and health technology companies together to develop and improve health IT solutions.

The new Physician Innovation Network is an online community where physicians can find and connect with companies and entrepreneurs who are seeking physician input in the development of healthcare technology products and services. The platform provides an open online forum for physicians to explore paid and volunteer opportunities to collaborate with health tech companies, and allows companies to search for physicians with specific expertise who are interested in and can offer feedback on their solutions.

The network also provides both physicians and health tech entrepreneurs with opportunities to learn from like-minded innovators and medical professionals, including access to virtual panel discussions with experts, according to AMA officials.

 “The AMA is committed to shaping a future where digital health tools are evidence-based, validated, interoperable, and actionable to ensure patients are receiving high-quality care. To make this a reality, the AMA is working with leaders across healthcare who are keenly focused on technologies that work better for patients and physicians and seeking ways to bring the physician voice into the innovation space,” AMA President David O. Barbe, M.D., said in a statement. He added, “We know that when physician expertise is aligned with input from partners on the leading edge of health technology, we produce meaningful results. The Physician Innovation Network will help ensure that physicians play a greater role in leading digital health innovations that expand the bounds of science, enhance patient care, and shape a better healthcare system, and improve the health of the nation.”

Interestingly, it was another senior leader at AMA, James Madara, M.D., CEO and executive vice president, who last year made comments about digital health technology that made waves in the health IT community at the time.

In the AMA’s annual meeting in Chicago, Dr. Madara used the term “digital snake oil” to begin a conversation about emerging technologies in medicine. Specifically, he said, "Today we have really remarkable tools — robotic surgery, new forms of radiation treatment, targeted biologics; and we live in a time of rapid development in the digital world — telemedicine as an example. But appearing in disguise among these positive products are other digital so-called advancements that don't have an appropriate evidence base, or just don't work that well — or actually impede care, confuse patients and waste our time. From ineffective electronic health records, to an explosion of direct-to-consumer digital health products, to apps of mixed quality — it's the digital snake oil of the early 21st century."

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