The American Medical Association has developed a new tool to help physicians connect with entrepreneurs and startups called the Physician Innovation Network. We asked the AMA’s Digital Health Strategy Director Meg Barron a few questions about this new platform, also called PIN.
1. What inspired the AMA to develop the Physician Innovation Network?
Creating new tools that build on physician perspectives 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 difficult.
AMA is a founding partner of MATTER and has a dedicated space there called the AMA Interaction Studio with the goal of helping better connect physicians with innovators developing solutions. In addition to MATTER, we’ve collaborated with a number of accelerators and incubators across the country. As a result, we were doing a lot of manual matchmaking among health tech companies and physicians who had specific skillsets. Realizing that approach could only go so far manually, we recognized the need for a virtual platform to help us scale connections and interactions.
In addition, we conducted digital health research last year which confirmed that physicians want to be consulted and have a role in the decision making process when it came to digital health tools. It’s vital for physicians to have a seat at the table in the design and development of new technologies so that innovators understand how their solutions might work in a clinical setting and for patients.
2. In the past, how have health tech companies connected with physicians (and vice versa)?
In the past, the process has definitely been more difficult than it should be. Often connections were made through personal networks or through friends/relatives. While finding a physician to provide feedback was doable, the likelihood of finding a physician with the specific expertise was much more difficult. On the flip side, physicians often have great solution ideas but not necessarily accessible connections to help bring the ideas to life. Our goal for the AMA Physician Innovation Network is to accelerate connections for both scenarios.
3. How does this new platform facilitate connections between physicians and innovators?
The Physician Innovation Network facilitates connections between physicians and innovators based on their individual preferences and needs. For health tech companies, it allows them to get feedback on their product or service from physicians with relevant experience, find qualified physicians for a volunteer or paid role for their company and to learn from other experiences health tech entrepreneurs and medical professionals. For example, if a company is looking for one-time feedback from a physician with specific expertise or if they are looking for a physician to get involved as an ongoing advisor, they can simply create an opportunity through the platform and easily identify physicians with similar interests and skillsets.
For physicians, it allows them to influence the development of emerging solutions in health care, connect with health tech companies that match their interest and expertise, learn about health tech entrepreneurship from like-minded peers and explore both paid and volunteer opportunities with health tech companies, such as ongoing advisor roles or one-time feedback sessions.
Recognizing that innovations in medicine must be evidence-based, validated, actionable and connected to be effective, the AMA is focused on helping entrepreneurs more easily connect with physicians to help develop better solutions.
4. How do the virtual panel discussions hope to improve healthcare solutions?
The virtual panel discussions are designed to be educational, engaging, and informative for both Physician Innovation Network members and the general public. For physicians, they can engage in conversation with both physician peers who are experts in the area of digital health entrepreneurship and health tech companies and entrepreneurs interested in getting feedback for their digital health solutions. For entrepreneurs, they have access to physicians who can provide valuable feedback on their company’s product or solution and ask other entrepreneurs questions about their journey in this space. Topics will vary, but continue to focus on the digital health landscape and the importance of integrating physician and provider expertise.
Abby Ballou is the managing editor of MedTech Boston. She has a B.A. and M.Phil in English literature from NYU and the CUNY Graduate Center, respectively. When she isn’t writing and editing for MedTech Boston, Abby enjoys reading, rock climbing, watching classic movies and listening to opera.
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