Why AI Is Not Going To Disrupt Our Healthcare System

Guest post by Krithika Siddharth, content writer, Innoppl Technologies.

Krithika Siddharth
Krithika Siddharth

Since 2011, more than $870 million have been invested in more than 65 healthcare artificial intelligence (AI) startups. These startups concentrate on various areas, from nursing to drug discoveries, where AI’s potential can be put to best use. This is where the world’s heading towards and the future of healthcare lies.

The roots of AI may have been from some science fiction storytellers, but now, the reality is that AI plays a major role in our everyday life. Beginning with the IBM Watson supercomputer defeating the longtime Jeopardy champion, Ken Jennings, the world started taking notice about what artificial intelligence can do.

With Google and IBM making tremendous progress with their AI initiatives and the other tech giants (Like Apple, Dell, Facebook) trying to catch up, it makes us wonder what will happen when one day we have robots running around doing our everyday chores.

But, the main question should be what will happen when AI does fully breach our day to day lives: Will we embrace this reality and let robots take us over? And do we really need or is it desirable to have self-driving cars and artificial intelligence? Should computers acquire enough data and knowledge to replace our existing doctors?

Maybe we do or maybe we don’t, but let’s stop before we get ahead of ourselves.

AI should not be perceived as “artificial intelligence” but rather as “augmented intelligence.” It has the potential to process data and make cognitive decisions, which an average human can take many months to process. AI has truly opened numerous opportunities in the field of healthcare, which was humanly impossible just a few years ago.

Getting into the facts, the main advantage AI has over a normal human being is the ability to process a gazillion data points within seconds.

So let’s imagine a patient walks in with a flu – even to diagnose and treat this common illness with the right medication can take a while. There are some cases where the patients don’t even react to the medication. These are common scenarios, as each body reacts differently to different medicines leading to an increased treatment time. Whereas, if the diagnosis is powered with an AI backed system to help, doctor’s will be armed with all the right data and can diagnose and prescribe the right medication within minutes.

How’s that for a game changer?

Yes, AI is the perfect medical assistant to healthcare professionals.Through an iPad based electronic medical record, even the patient genome studies could be integrated into their electronic medical reports. Armed with this data, AI has enough information to make a better analysis and provide accurate treatment plans based on the patient’s medical history, genetic conditions and other medications they are taking for other illnesses.

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Health IT Startup: par8o

par8oHOS_lockup_400x117par8o is named after the 19th Century Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto, who first defined the powerful economic concept of “Pareto Optimization” in which a system is able to maximize benefits for each and every participant. When applied to the healthcare industry, Pareto Optimization holds the promise of being able to improve overall access to healthcare while lowering costs.

The par8o Healthcare Operating System allows healthcare organizations to optimize their networks of providers and other resources to deliver quality care by applying Pareto Optimization. This approach, and the technologies par8o has developed to implement it, are well-suited to the complex, multi-constituency nature of healthcare because they achieve continuous efficiency improvements while balancing the needs of all parties.

Simply put, par8o helps organizations match the right patient to the right resource at the right time.

Elevator pitch

Much like iOS or Android operating systems that tie together the user experience on your phone, par8o ties together payers, providers and patients to eliminate interoperability excuses to create a simple user experience.

Product/service description

par8o is a venture-backed, EHR-agnostic platform that creates a common point for coordinating care delivery and plan design, a technology that connects providers, payers, and patients. par8o is a cloud-based healthcare operating system enabling all parties to improve care and optimize towards several clinical and business goals in parallel rather than to the detriment of one another. par8o helps clients succeed by applying Pareto Optimization, a powerful economic principle that succeeds because it is well suited to the complex, multi-constituency nature of healthcare. Simply put, par8o helps organizations match the right patient to the right resource at the right time, ensuring that patients successfully transition to the next step in their care.

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Health IT Startup: Spotlight Health

Spotlight Health allows consumers the ability to compare prices on medical procedures from doctors, hospitals and clinics in their area.

Elevator pitch

With the dramatic increase in high-deductible health insurance plans, more and more people now have to pay for medically necessary procedures out-of-pocket. There is a consumer need in the healthcare market that wasn’t being served. Spotlight Health now makes it easy to research how much potential medical procedures will cost and allows consumers to have an active role in their healthcare spending choices.

Product/service description

Spotlight Health allows consumers to compare healthcare costs for providers, procedures, treatments and office visits in their area. The Spotlight Health technology lets users find providers, clinics and hospitals in their geographical area based on city, state and zip code. The site also allows users to get estimated pricing for procedures, treatments, therapies and conditions based on the individual criteria. Our goal is to put price transparency in the hands of the consumer, while providing valuable data to patients, physicians, clinics and hospitals.

Marketing/promotion strategy

Our vision for promoting Spotlight Health and generating income is to partner with healthcare providers (physicians, hospitals, clinics) so that they can update their pricing profile to reflect their exact charges. Providers will be able to advertise and promote their business to compete as the market shifts to a more consumer driven model. We are going to be adding a division that will help consult patients on their healthcare costs and help providers set the appropriate market price for their billing. In addition, our SEO and marketing teams are looking for ways we can improve visibility to reach more healthcare consumers.

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Health IT Startup: 2nd.MD

2nd.MD provides direct access to the world’s best doctors for personalized second opinions via video or phone within about three days.

Elevator pitch

When it comes to your health, don’t second guess, do 2nd.MD.

Founders’ story

When Clint Phillips’ — our CEO — daughter, Gabi, suffered from a stroke, the family faced immense hurdles to get answers to their health-related questions. The uncertainty of choosing the right doctor, the many months of waiting for an appointment and the time spent traveling to see specialist after specialist were constant struggles. 2nd.MD was founded to save other families from the confusion and barriers faced by the Phillips’ family. Leading doctors joined forces, as well as innovative investors, to develop 2nd.MD into a driven cause that continues to create more dedicated and passionate care.

Marketing/promotion strategy

Clinton Phillips
Clint Phillips

2nd.MD partners with businesses and employers to provide our expert second opinion services to their employees. We communicate monthly through a variety of channels to stay top of mind with employees, reminding them to use our service when they need us.

Market opportunity

Our target audience consists of the 5 percent of employees that make up 50 percent of healthcare costs for companies. These employees are facing a new diagnosis, possible surgery or change in medication, and are not aware of their options. 2nd.MD allows employees the opportunity to speak with the top specialist for their condition, which provides the most up-to-date treatment options for each individual case. Additional statistics can be provided.

Second opinions result in changed diagnoses in 15 percent to 20 percent of cases and modified treatment recommendations in 60 percent to 70 percent of cases, according to the Institute of Medicine.

Who are your competitors?

Because of the service 2nd.MD provides, we have no direct competitors. Companies, such as Best Doctors and Cleveland Clinic, do offer a similar service; however, they can take six weeks and do not provide direct access to a physician. As a result, the utilization and appeal of 2nd.MD is highly valued.

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Health IT Startup: instaRounds

Kurian Thott, MD
Kurian Thott, MD

instaRounds provides the most comprehensive mobile and web platform for physicians to communicate with one another, share call schedules, follow their appointments, allow cross coverage and, for the first time ever, give physicians a mobile patient sign-out application.

Elevator pitch

Imagine a platform in which physicians can communicate in a Twitter-like feed with one another about those patients currently under their care. By real-time updates, critical decision making and care planning can occur seamlessly with the patient benefiting the most.

Product/service description

instaRounds is a mobile and web platform that enables physicians to securely communicate with one another in a patients’ care team, by use of a patent-pending format that allows simple-to-use template interfaces that provides seamless patient sign out. Studies have shown that the most critical time in patient care is during the handoff of the patients from one provider to another; instaRounds nearly eliminates errors in sign out.

Providers can use either a web interface or the more popular mobile app, available on iTunes and Google Play, to communicate with members of their team.

Founder’s story

instaRounds was founded by Kurian Thott, MD, a gynecologic surgeon who felt the void in patient care when it was almost impossible for members in his own practice to communicate securely and HIPAA compliantly. He figured there had to be a better way and when he found none, he created instaRounds. Built on the idea that for patient care to be better, physicians needed to communicate with one another, and instaRounds gives physicians this power.

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Health IT Startup: MedWand

Samir Qamar, MD, president, MedWand

MedWand Solutions develops and distributes the MedWand solution, a patent-pending telemedicine device that easily connects to a PC or mobile device, like a cell phone or tablet. MedWand contains a set of fundamental, easy-to-use vital sign measurement and examination devices integrated into a single wand about the size of a large electric toothbrush. It includes a pulse oximeter, an otoscope camera for ear examinations with attachments to also allow views of the eyes, throat, or nose, an in-ear thermometer, a digital stethoscope and provision to support optional third party Bluetooth wireless devices, such as glucose meter or blood pressure monitor. In addition enabling remote examinations, MedWand can assemble all measurements and required information into a secure electronic health record, enabling a clinical-quality, interactive, at-home telemedicine experience for both patients and their doctors.

Elevator pitch

With all the advancements we have experienced in technology, routine telemedicine still doesn’t allow examination capabilities for all patients. With MedWand, no matter where the location, patients can experience remote examinations like never before.

Product/service description

MedWand is the first handheld telemedicine device that allows doctors to examine patients and gather important medical vitals, remotely, via secure Internet channels on tablets and personal computers. In the rapidly growing industry of telemedicine, the majority of remote consultations are limited to audio and video without the possibility of direct physician examination. Now, with a MedWand, doctors can listen to a patient’s heart, lungs, and abdomen; look at skin and into ears, nose, and throat with an embedded high-definition video camera; obtain basic vital signs, including blood oxygenation; and even obtain a thre-lead EKG – all remotely, with a single unit that can be cradled into the palm of a hand. In addition, MedWand provides continuous medical vitals monitoring services with alerts when patients may be headed in the wrong direction.

Founders’ story

The MedWand telemedicine device was conceived by former Pebble Beach house doctor Samir Qamar, a family physician and founder of MedLion Direct Primary Care, one of the nation’s leading direct primary care companies. It was after being dissatisfied with current limitations of telemedicine that Dr. Qamar came up with the idea to build a compact telemedicine device capable of remote patient exams. After an extensive search, Dr. Qamar approached engineer Robert Rose, founder of Cypher Scientific engineering, formerly of Red Digital Cinema, who agreed to join the project. Together, on a mission to advance telemedicine, Dr. Qamar and Mr. Rose created the MedWand.

Marketing/promotion strategy

MedWand appeals to the entire telemedicine industry. Having already been approached by branches of the U.S. military and many large telemedicine companies worldwide, MedWand will soon be helping hospitals, accountable care organizations, and companies control healthcare costs by allowing real-time examinations to telemedicine services. A major computer manufacturer has offered to be a launch partner for MedWand, and MedWand is ripe for international distribution. Eventually, the MedWand will be distributed directly to patients and their families worldwide.

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Health IT Startup: Caring In Place

Josh Fotheringham
Josh Fotheringham

Caring in Place helps family members become family caregivers for their aging loved ones. Based on the loved one’s health conditions, family members are taught what to do, when to do it and how to care for their aging loved ones. All instructions are doctor recommended and often include audio, video, images and text.

Elevator pitch

Caring in Place helps family members learn to become family caregivers for their aging loved ones. Through intelligent checklists, caregivers are taught what to do, when to do it and how to care for their seniors.

Product/service description

Caring in Place is a technology platform designed to help family members learn how to become family caregivers for their aging loved ones. Through an iPhone app, and a web portal (Android to be launched in the next few weeks), families are provided caregiving instructions based on the health conditions of their aging loved one. The platform also enables caregivers to coordinate care with other family members, friends, neighbors and even paid caregivers.

Founders’ story

Co-founders Josh Fotheringham and James Jarman met in 1996 while attending the University of Utah. Although they went separate ways with their careers, they knew that at some point they would join forces. In 2010, a friend running a skilled nursing facility in California asked for assistance with his facility. After several improvement attempts associated with Medicare billing, Josh and James began studying and interacting with family caregivers. Quickly they identified with the difficulty of caregiving and decided to help. Leveraging their backgrounds in technology, marketing and business, they started Caring in Place. In 2013 they received their first external investment from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and also participated in a four-month healthcare accelerator program called Healthbox. Today they are building partnerships across the healthcare ecosystem to find new and improved ways to help family members in their role as family caregivers.

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Health IT Startup: Tonic Health

Sterling Lanier

Tonic was founded by a collaboration of scientists, consumer marketing experts, user interface designers and software programmers to finally solve the crippling challenges of medical data collection, including poor response rates, low patient engagement, high cost and limited ability to personalize care based on a patient’s answers.

So we went out and built a medical data collection platform for clinicians, providers and researchers collecting and using patient information everywhere.

Elevator Pitch

Tonic Health is the world’s best patient data collection platform: fully customizable, super fun and friendly, and accessible anywhere, it solves all the major data collection headaches for hospitals and health systems everywhere.

Product/Service Description

Tonic is the world’s best patient data collection platform: we integrate extreme patient engagement, robust CRM capabilities and real-time predictive analytics to dramatically improve the process of gathering, analyzing and using patient data.

Used by 10 of the Top 15 largest health systems in America, Tonic provides a Disney-like experience to a wide range of data collection needs, including patient intake, patient screening and risk assessments, patient satisfaction, patient-reported outcomes, patient education and much more.

Founder’s Story

Prior to co-founding Tonic, I (Sterling Lanier) founded a company called Chatter (www.chatterinc.com), which is a leading market research firm that works primarily with Fortune 500 brands. During a pro-bono project I was doing for a breast cancer research program at UCSF, I realized the way that most healthcare professionals were collecting and analyzing data was woefully behind the best practices used in the corporate world. Engagement was pitiful, turnaround times were glacial and patient care was suffering.

So I teamed up with my co-founder Boris Glants (who is the technical brains behind our success) and we set out to flip the whole system on its head.

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