AMA President Outlines Physician Leadership Plan for Digital Health

AMA-logoThe game-changing digital transformation of medicine is emerging into a new phase, according to Robert M. Wah, M.D., president of the American Medical Association (AMA), and there is reason for great optimism in the future of this evolution as the AMA helps physicians take on a greater role in leading changes that will move technological innovations forward.

In his keynote address to the 2015 Annual HIMSS Conference Innovation Symposium in Chicago, Dr. Wah discussed the AMA’s ongoing work as we are heading into what he described as phase three of the digitization of medicine. Phase one involved the shift from paper to digital platforms, while phase two involved networking information and interoperability. Phase three of this evolution involves the analysis of data.

What we’ll see emerging in the third phase are new capabilities to analyze digital data that will provide insights for efficient, high-quality care,” said Dr. Wah. ”In these rapidly changing times in healthcare, we will need agile technology to adapt and succeed. To harness these capabilities, physicians are leading new approaches for delivery and payment of medical services, and challenging regulatory barriers holding back the promise of information technology in health care.”

New technologies by themselves are not meaningful in health care without the engagement of physicians, and Dr. Wah highlighted the AMA’s commitment to proactive reforms in key areas with the goal of helping physicians harness innovation and using it in their practices. These reforms include:

  • Applying lessons learned from the current regulatory framework to unlock innovation and the adoption of new technologies.
  • Transforming electronic health record technology into the patient-focused tool it was always meant to be.
  • Expanding the reach of telemedicine and remote patient monitoring technology to connect patients to their doctors.

“When physicians, policymakers, vendors and technology innovators work together, the power of technology can enhance patient care, improve productivity and efficiency and slow the rise in health care costs,” said Dr. Wah.

To help lead this ambitious change toward a better health care system, the AMA is taking a hands-on approach in collaborative efforts to reframe the capabilities of digital health technology that interferes with physicians’ ability to provide first-rate medical care to their patients. Some of the AMA’s collaborative efforts highlighted by Dr. Wah include joint initiatives with:

  • MATTER, a Chicago-based health care technology incubator, that will drive innovation by allowing physicians, entrepreneurs and industry experts to collaborate on the development of new technologies, services and products in a simulated health care environment.
  • RAND Corporation that has produced in-depth studies documenting physician experiences with various challenges to putting patients first, including electronic health records and the transition to new health care delivery and payment models.
  • Vendors, federal and state policymakers, health care systems and researchers that want to know more about AMA proposed framework to improve EHR usability and our blueprint to improve the Meaningful Use Program.
  • State medical associations and the Federation of State Medical Boards to support adoption of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact and increase patient access to telemedicine services.
  • State medical associations to support rapid adoption of state laws that support telemedicine reimbursement and the expeditious adoption of clinically appropriate telemedicine technologies.

Learn more on how the AMA is assisting physicians in using advanced technologies by visiting our digital health website.