Susannah Fox on Teens & Digital Health Study

How are teens and young adults engaging with digital health? Results of a national survey asking just that were released today by Susannah Fox (Former CTO at US Dept of HHS) and her research partner, Victoria Rideout.

You can check out the full report of the findings here, but I spoke with Susannah in April, just as she and Victoria were starting to draw some insights from their work.

Hearing her talk about the survey at this stage of synthesis is not only unique (most researchers won’t talk until the findings are published) but more so because it adds a layer of understanding to the final results now that they’re here.

We get her candor about how teens and young adults are a wildly viable – yet very overlooked – market for digital health…

We see how she’s trying to formulate a much larger hypothesis about what healthcare can learn about social media from a generation that has never lived without it and, more importantly, view it as having a positive impact on their well-being…

And, probably most inspiring to me, we see an approach to health data that stands out for its warmth. For it’s love, really. In a world of big data and clinical trials, it’s endearing to hear from someone who is taking a more anthropological approach and who has fallen absolutely, head-over-heels in LOVE with the personal side of her dataset.

As we all clamor for a patient-centered end, we’d be remiss to underestimate the value of a human-centered starting point. Watch Susannah Fox for a strong model of how this can be done in health research.

Filmed at Health DataPalooza, Washington DC, April 2018. Find more interviews with the people pushing healthcare to better tomorrow at www.wtf.health

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Who Cares About the Doctor-Patient Relationship? A Review of “Next In Line: Lowered Care Expectations in the Age of Retail- and Value-Based Health”

By KIP SULLIVAN, JD

A mere two decades ago, the headlines were filled with stories about the “HMO backlash.” HMOs (which in the popular media meant most insurance companies) were the subject of cartoons, the butt of jokes by comedians, and the target of numerous critical stories in the media. They were even the bad guys in some movies and novels. Some defenders of the insurance industry claimed the cause of the backlash was the negative publicity and doctors whispering falsehoods about managed care into the ears of their patients. That was nonsense. The industry had itself to blame.

The primary cause of the backlash was the heavy-handed use of utilization review in all its forms –prior, concurrent, and retrospective. There were other irritants, including limitations on choice of doctor and hospital, the occasional killing http://articles.latimes.com/1999/jan/24/news/mn-1260 or injuring https://www.cbsnews.com/news/supreme-court-wary-of-hmo-suit/ of patients by forcing them to seek treatment from in-network hospitals, and attempts by insurance companies to get doctors not to tell patients about all available treatments. But utilization review was far and away the most visible irritant.

The insurance industry understood this and, in the early 2000s, with the encouragement of the health policy establishment, rolled out an ostensibly kinder and gentler version of managed care, a version I and a few others call Managed Care 2.0. What distinguished Managed Care 2.0 from Managed Care 1.0 was less reliance on utilization review and greater reliance on methods of controlling doctors and hospitals that patients and reporters couldn’t see. “Pay for performance” was the first of these methods out of the chute. By 2004 the phrase had become so ubiquitous in the health policy literature it had its own acronym – P4P. By the late 2000s, the invisible “accountable care organization” and “medical home” had replaced the HMO as the entities that were expected to achieve what HMOs had failed to achieve, and “value-based payment” had supplanted “managed care” as the managed care movement’s favorite label for MC 2.0.

Today, few managed care advocates, and certainly no politician, would hold up HMOs as the goal of health care reform. Today, the managed care movement and politicians across the political spectrum, from Trump’s HHS Secretary Alex Azar to Bernie Sanders, promote ACOs and other “value-based payment” vehicles that Americans don’t understand and can’t see. [1]

So far, the strategy is working. With the possible exception of the increased use of narrow networks, the media is paying little attention to MC 2.0. The media is not reporting on the spread of “value-based payment” nostrums, and it is not warning the public that these nostrums are affecting the doctor-patient relationship even while they fail to contain inflation. [2] Not surprisingly, there are at this date no signs of an impending “value-based payment” backlash.

Unlike the media, the health policy literature does pay attention – lavish attention – to the “value-based payment” bandwagon. But like the media, the health policy literature pays virtually no attention to the impact “value-based payment” is having on the doctor-patient relationship. Health services researchers have yet to produce even a small body of research on doctors’ and patients’ views of how a half-century of managed care experiments – HMOs, PPOs, utilization review, limited choice, “coordination,” drug formularies, report cards, P4P, ACOs, medical homes, EHRs, bundled payments – has affected the doctor-patient relationship.

Voices from the trenches

Timothy Hoff’s latest book, Next in Line, seeks to fill that hole. It is a rare attempt by a bona fide member of the health services research community to understand the impact of managed care on the quality of the physician-patient dialogue. This requires actually talking to doctors and patients as opposed to collecting crude data on the “value” (the cost and quality) of doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, or ACOs. We have reams of studies that tell us, for example, what percent of the diabetics assigned to Tendercare ACO received an annual eye exam or were advised not to smoke https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Medicare-Fee-for-Service-Payment/sharedsavingsprogram/Downloads/2018-and-2019-quality-benchmarks-guidance.pdf. We have virtually no research on how the spread of ACOs is affecting the quality of doctors’ interactions with their patients. “[F]ew seem to care … about promoting strong doctor-patient relationships…,” Hoff declares early in his book. (p 11)

Next in Line is based on interviews with 44 primary care doctors and 36 patients. The interviews were designed to find out what primary care doctors and patients think the doctor-patient relationship should look like and what it actually looks like under the onslaught of what the author variously calls “corporatized care,” “retail thinking,” and “value-based health care.” Hoff reports that doctors and patients share a nearly identical definition of the ideal relationship, and they share similar views on the damage “value-based payment” and the corporate takeover of medicine have inflicted on that relationship. Both doctors and patients define a relationship built on trust as the ideal relationship, and both parties perceive multiple forces around them destroying trust or preventing it from forming in the first place.

Hoff’s conclusion that patients want a trusting relationship with their doctor will surprise no one. But his report that doctors share that view, enthusiastically and universally, may surprise those who bought into the campaign, initiated nearly a half-century ago by Paul Ellwood (“the father of the health maintenance organization”) and other founders of the managed care movement, that doctors are driven by money and are not “patient-centered.” Ellwood and his intellectual heirs developed this stereotype of doctors to reinforce their evidence-free diagnosis that excessive volume of medical services sold (as opposed to the price at which those services were sold) was the primary cause of health care inflation. The fact that doctors value the trust of their patients is inconsistent with this stereotype. “[F]ew physicians flinched when asked to describe what a good doctor-patient relationship looked like,” Hoff writes. “Striking to me was the consistent manner in which doctors specifically used the words trust, respect, friendship, partnership and communication to help describe an effective, satisfying doctor-patient relationship. They used these words unprompted….” (p. 69)

Hoff describes in abstract terms the destructive forces set loose by the stereotype of the money-driven-doctor – “metric fever,” “corporate medicine,” and “retail thinking.” And he accurately describes problems caused by these forces, including “checklist medicine,” the “dumbing down” of medicine, and making doctor-patient communication “as ritualized as possible.” But, oddly, he never identifies the origin of those forces, namely, the managed-care movement’s grossly oversimplified diagnosis (overuse due to FFS payment and money-hungry doctors) and the movement’s evidence-free solutions (shifting risk to doctors and micromanaging them). His failure to do so is the main reason why the last chapter in the book, a chapter in which he recommends solutions, is so disappointing.

Spitballs versus rhinos

In the final chapter, Hoff offers a half-dozen ideas for “saving the doctor-patient relationship.” With the exception of his suggestion that doctors form unions, these suggestions are grossly inadequate and, in one case, ludicrous.

Hoff’s first suggestion is that doctors “start caring about building strong relationships with [their] patients.” (p. 173) This makes no sense. In previous chapters, Hoff has carefully documented how much doctors care about good relationships with their patients and what little control they have over the forces corrupting those relationships, and now he calls on them to “start caring” about their relationships with patients. I quote at length from the same paragraph to give you some idea of how muddled Hoff’s thinking is here: “Advance preparation for strong relationship-building matters more now than ever…. Knowing ahead of time how and why such relationships matter …, and being able to engage in requisite features such as empathy, compassion and listening – in ways that are efficient and do not require highly favorable conditions – raises the chance that tomorrow’s doctors can achieve some success in maintaining bonds with their patients.” (pp. 173-174) I have no idea what all those words mean.

He goes on to recommend these actions:

* teaching hospitals should expose young doctors to the opportunity to “work with the same patients over time” so they can learn the benefits of long-term relations with patients (as if that will somehow arm tomorrow’s doctors to go to war with the forces that are interfering with long-term relationships);

* doctors should join unions;

* insurance companies and other entities that bedevil doctors with their P4P schemes should include measures of “trust” in their ever-growing lists of “quality” measures (p. 181) and, to develop such measures, “entire exam room conversations can be recorded and then analyzed … for the presence of various relational features in the doctor-patient interaction” such as trust and empathy (p. 187);

* doctors could hire “concierge staff” to serve as “liaisons between specific doctors and patients” that would serve as “listening relay stations” between patients and doctors;

* smartphone apps could be used to create “real-time outlets for patients to ask question and be heard”; and, perhaps worst of all,

* “some consumers [could be] asked to pay extra … for the right to see their doctors more in person….”(p. 184).

With the exception of unionization, these suggestions are at worst technologically or financially infeasible, and at best the equivalent of shooting spitballs at a charging rhino. Hoff expressed his own disbelief in one of these suggestions – the notion of adding measures of “trust” to P4P schemes – in earlier chapters where he blasted “metric fever” and the emergence of “an entire hidden industry … devoted to making primary care physicians … look good to insurers and government agencies….” (p. 34) The notion that a credible, accurately risk-adjusted score for “empathy” or “trust” can be produced for even a few doctors, never mind all US physicians (with or without bugging the nation’s examining rooms) is absurd.

I surmise that Hoff’s inability to make more realistic recommendations stems from his ambivalence about MC 2.0. In certain parts of the book, he is very critical of “value-based payment” schemes – he calls them “half baked” and “magic bullets.” But in other parts he claims, without evidence, that these schemes have created some benefit and, apparently for that reason, are “here to stay.” When he wrote the last chapter, he must have resolved his ambivalence, at least temporarily, in favor of the conclusion that MC 2.0 is doing some good and, in part for that reason, will never go away even if it is damaging the doctor-patient relationship.

The problem must be named

I am under no illusion that exterminating the forces that are weakening the doctor-patient relationship will be easy. The managed care juggernaut has acquired enormous financial and political power over the last half-century. The managed care diagnosis (overuse caused by FFS payment) and solution (exposing providers to financial risk and micromanaging them) is now a well-established religion. But if we are ever going to defang the forces that are diminishing doctor and patient autonomy and weakening the doctor-patient relationship, we must name them and clearly describe their origins. Hoff’s favorite labels for the corrupting forces – “value-based payment,” “retail thinking,” and “corporate care” – are informative but, by themselves, are not informative enough. They do not tell us who unleashed those forces, upon what rationale, and with what evidence.

All of us who care about the future of the doctor-patient relationship must be more specific in our diagnosis of the crisis: The forces that threaten that relationship was unleashed by managed care theology – its evidence-free diagnosis and its evidence-free solutions. Those solutions are the cure that is worse than the disease. There are solutions to the modest amount of overuse that so excites managed care proponents. But managed care, be it the pre- or post-backlash version, is not one of them. Applying managed care to the overuse problem is like using a chainsaw is to cut butter – it is vast overkill.

We must also clearly describe the toxic side effects caused by managed care. Tim Hoff has described one of them – the degradation of trust between doctors and patients. I thank him very much for doing that.

References:

Book: Hoff, Timothy J, Next In Line: Lowered Care Expectations in the Age of Retail- and Value-Based Health Oxford University Press, 2018

[1] S 1804, the so-called single-payer bill Senator Sanders introduced in 2017, contains a section that authorizes the Department of Health and Human Services to extend every “reform activity” authorized by the Affordable Care Act and MACRA to the non-elderly. These “reform activities” include, of course, all the major elements of the iteration of managed care that emerged after the HMO backlash, including ACOs, medical homes, bundled payments, penalties for hospitals with “excess readmissions,” and the Merit-based Incentive Payment System, none of which are visible to patients. The Trump administration has taken no steps to repeal any of these “activities,” and has explicitly and enthusiastically endorsed the concept of “value-based medicine” and ACOs in particular.

[2] The evidence that the latest iteration of managed care is failing to cut US health care costs is overwhelming. There is, first of all, the fact that health care spending as a percent of GDP continues to grow at its historic rate. There is, furthermore, a growing body of literature demonstrating that none of the most important elements of Managed Care 2.0 save money. The research on Medicare ACOs, medical homes and bundled payments, which is the only reliable research, demonstrates these “reforms” are breaking even, and that’s only if we don’t count the costs ACOs, “homes,” and hospitals with bundled payment contracts incur in their efforts to cut their Medicare costs. (The exception to the statement that Medicare’s bundled payment program is not saving money is the joint replacement program, but the main reason that program saves money is that hospitals use their market power to lower the price of implants. Like HMOs, ACOs and “homes,” bundled payments were supposed to save Medicare money by reducing the volume of services, not their price.) Two other elements of MC 2.0, pay-for-performance and electronic medical records, are saving no money either.

Kip Sullivan, J.D., is a member of the Policy Advisory Committee of Health Care for All Minnesota

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Digital Health and the Two-Canoe Problem

By DAN O’NEILL

Digital Health and the Two-Canoe Problem

As healthcare gradually tilts from volume to value, physicians and hospitals fear the instability of straddling “two canoes.” Value-based contracts demand very different business and practices and clinical habits from those which maximize fee-for-service revenue, but with most income still anchored on volume, providers often cannot afford a wholesale pivot towards cost-conscious care.  That financial pressure shapes investment and procurement budgets, creating a downstream version of the two-canoe problem for digital health products geared toward outcomes or efficiency. Value-based care is still the much smaller canoe, so buyers de-prioritize these tools, or expect slim returns on such investment.  That, in turn, creates an odd disconnect.  Frustrated clinicians struggle to implement new care models while wrestling with outdated technology and processes built to capture codes and boost fee-for-service revenue. Meanwhile, products focused on cost-effectiveness and quality face unexpectedly weak demand and protracted sales cycles.  That can short-circuit further investment and ultimately slow the transition to value.

To skirt these shoals, most successful innovators have clustered around three primary strategies.  Each aims to establish a foothold in a predominantly fee-for-service ecosystem, while building technology and services suited for value-based care, as the latter expands.  A better understanding of these models – and how they address different payment incentives – could help clinicians shape implementation priorities within their organizations, and guide new ventures trying to craft a viable commercial strategy.

The first is to focus on Medicare Advantage (MA) and Managed Medicaid (MM), where risk-adjusted capitation and quality ratings approximate many features of value-based reimbursement, even when individual providers are still paid on a fee-for-service basis.  This limits the market (see figure below), but allows developers and designers to emphasize workflows and insights which can facilitate other pay-for-performance scenarios, as these proliferate.  Such an approach is particularly common among vendors like Evolent Health (EVH) and Lumeris, who offer technology and services geared toward MA and MM patients, which can extend to handle Medicare’s shared savings program and other accountable care arrangements.  Natural language processing engines and case management software often take a similar tack, targeting near-term revenue gains from risk adjustment or HEDIS scores, while securing a toehold for a longer-term push into medical management.  Finally, clinical data services also tend to focus on risk adjustment as an immediate business case, while building data-sharing infrastructure which could improve care coordination and curb costly duplication, once payment contracts broaden the incentives to do so.

The second strategy targets a different patient segment entirely – those with employer-sponsored, fee-for-service plans.  This coverage is plagued by high and unpredictable prices for hospital and physician services, which creates an arbitrage opportunity; technology-driven services can deliver financial returns by nudging patients toward better value or even replacing traditional providers altogether. Grand Rounds, for example, acts as a concierge, shepherding patients toward centers of excellence, which pursue fewer unnecessary procedures and have better outcomes.  Others, such as Livongo and Hinge Health, try to supplant traditional providers with remote coaches and self-management programs, delivered through mobile applications and other connected devices.  These services may improve patient outcomes, but the business case relies heavily on steering patients away from expensive interventions or facilities.  Today, firms pursuing this strategy generally sell to self-insured employers, but have used that niche to test models of lower-cost care and to build patient navigation and coordination tools.  Both should eventually be valuable for any provider network (or insurer) which is financially accountable for care quality and efficiency.

Finally, some digital health firms operate across all patient segments but target specific use cases which promise financial returns under both fee-for-service and value-based contracts.  Typically, they emphasize the fee-for-service case today and plan to pivot as outcomes-oriented care models expand. Referral networks may be the clearest example.  Fee-for-service revenue from referral traffic creates a business case for diagnostics firms and hospitals to fund health information exchange links with ordering providers.  As a result, hospitals, clinical labs and radiology groups pay electronic health record vendors (e.g. Athena Health or Practice Fusion) and intermediary hubs like ReferralMD to connect referring physicians to their service centers, mirroring pharmacies’ funding of electronic prescribing infrastructure.  Similarly, CoverMyMeds and Clarity Health (both since acquired) relied on the financial case for pharmaceutical manufacturers and specialists to streamline prior authorization hurdles for clinicians considering a specialty drug or referral.  Over time, all of these narrowly-targeted networks chip away at healthcare’s interoperability deficit and establish a foundation for the longitudinal care coordination required under value-based care.

The two-canoe challenge for digital health highlights a system-wide dilemma.  Physicians and hospitals cannot deliver consistently efficient, high-quality care without the necessary tools, but there is little incentive to invest in that toolkit until payment contracts ensure a financial return.  This disconnect can retard adoption of new technology, and hence slow overall progress toward value-based care. These three strategies, however, offer pathways for innovation which is financially viable in today’s hybrid reimbursement landscape and helps assemble the infrastructure for cost-effective, outcomes-driven healthcare.

Dan O’Neill is currently an RWJF Fellow at the National Academy of Medicine. He previously served as a Senior Vice President with Change Healthcare, and in leadership roles with several other digital health firms.

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Will Computers Really Replace Radiologists?

By SAURABH JHA

There is hope, hype and hysteria about artificial intelligence (AI). How will AI change how radiology is practiced?  I discuss this with Stephen Borstelmann, a radiologist in Florida and a scholar in machine learning.

Listen to our discussion on the Radiology Firing Line Series, hosted by the Journal of the American College of Radiology and sponsored by Healthcare Administrative Partners.

About the author:

Saurabh Jha is a radiologist and contributing editor to THCB. He hosts the Radiology Firing Line Podcasts

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Giving Consumers the Tools and Support They Need to Navigate Our Complex Healthcare System

By CINDI SLATER, MD, FACR

As physicians and healthcare leaders, we are already well aware that the majority of patients do not have the information they need to make a medical decision or access to appropriate resources, so we didn’t need to hear more bad news. But that is precisely what new research once again told us this spring when a new study showed that almost half of the time, patients have no idea why they are referred to a GI specialist.

While the study probably speaks to many of the communications shortcomings we providers have, across the board our patients often don’t know what care they need, or how to find high-value care.  Last year, my organization commissioned some original research that found that while a growing number of patients are turning to social websites such as YELP, Vitals, and Healthgrades to help them find a “high quality” specialist, the top-ranked physicians on these sites – including GI docs – are seldom the best when we look at real performance data.  Only 2 percent of physicians who showed up as top 10 ranked on the favorite websites also showed up as top performers when examining actual quality metrics. (The results shouldn’t surprise you as bedside manner has little to no correlation with performance metrics such as readmission rates).

As providers and health care leaders, we lament that our patients are not better informed or more engaged and yet across the board, we have not given them the tools or resources they need to navigate our complex system. But now for some good news: all hope is not lost, and patients can become better consumers, albeit slowly, if we all do our part.

First, as health care leaders, we must continue efforts to educate all patients that quality of care matters and that quality varies. Part of this is helping patients understand that not all medical care is of equal value.  Unfortunately, as reported in Modern Healthcare, the Choosing Wisely campaign hasn’t made much of a dent moving the needle, but the work that has been born out of this initiative continues, and some medical systems are looking to take it to the next level. Cultural change is hard and it is slow, so we must “keep on keeping on” in these efforts, despite glacial rates of progress.

Second, those of us who wear a provider hat must compel patients to participate in their care. Initiatives like OpenNotes are a great addition, offering patients and families a full transparent electronic medical record they can even contribute content to themselves. Research has shown such initiatives improve doctor-patient communication and trust and spur shared decision-making.

Of course, even the best of resources can often be overwhelming, especially in the face of a patient dealing with something like a breast cancer diagnosis. That is why employers, the largest providers of health care coverage in this country, have an obligation to help their employees. (And in helping their employees they can usually help themselves by lowering their healthcare spend when employees make higher value choices). Several years ago, we saw high deductible health plans soar in popularity; they were all the rage, and supposed to be the panacea to get patients more engaged. Today we know better, and according to Willis Towers Watson in their 2015 annual survey, the top performing employers also rely heavily on value-based insurance designs and network strategies, like Centers of Excellence, to steer their employees to higher value care, as part of their overall benefit design. With these in place, employees aren’t shopping for care in the dark; they have some guide rails which push them toward higher quality providers and higher value treatment options.

New data shows savvy employers are even taking these “guardrails” to a new level. The latest NBGH annual survey of employee benefits revealed that 36 percent of employers plan to offer their employees high touch concierge services this year. This is about more than steering employees toward higher-value choices; it is about actually talking them through the decision-making process.

Finally, a suggestion and one note of caution for all of us – we cannot rely on technology alone to solve this problem. The technology industry has made a fortune creating “apps” and other tools that promise to get patients more educated and engaged in their care and to help them make better healthcare decisions. But at the end of the day, we have to be careful we cannot rely on technology alone to save us. First, doing so ignores the “digital divide,” which in health care also means specific populations have less access to tech or are just less likely to use tech (e.g., the worker in a manufacturing plant not tied to his smartphone, or the older patient who can’t read the screen). But second, and more importantly, tech can never take the place of a real conversation between provider and patient or provider and healthcare navigator. These conversations often reveal additional concerns the patient might have or other real-world limitations. For example, Martha can’t refill her prescription because she doesn’t have a reliable source of transportation to the pharmacy. It takes a person-to-person conversation to reveal these issues and a thinking human-being to help problem solve.

If we continue work to support these conversations, educate patients, and give them benefit designs that help guide them, we can make a dent in this enormous problem. After all, if understanding your health care choices is giving you an ulcer, shouldn’t you know that is why your primary care doc referred you to a GI specialist?

Dr. Cindi Slater is the SVP for Medical Affairs for ConsumerMedical. She received her M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and is board certified in internal medicine. Dr. Slater has been a Clinical Instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and practiced internal medicine and urgent care at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston for over 20 years.

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AI to the Rescue: 5 Semi-Finalists Advancing Through the RWJF AI and the Healthcare Consumer Challenge!

Decision making is a daunting task. Combined with navigating health insurance jargon, scattered health information, and feeling crummy as you rush to find care during the onset of a cold, making decisions can be an absolute nightmare. However, artificial intelligence (AI) enabled tools have the potential to change the way we interact with and consume healthcare for the better. AI’s ability to comprehend, learn, optimize and act are keys to organizing the varying nuisances of the healthcare experience.

In a 2018 survey by Accenture, healthcare consumers indicated they would likely use AI for after hours care, support in navigating healthcare services, lifestyle advice, post-diagnosis management, etc. While AI in health is not limited to these functions, the report highlights consumers’ trouble in making informed healthcare decisions, hence this may be an area where AI can truly help.

With more consumers demanding assistance in healthcare decision making, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Catalyst @ Health 2.0 have come together to host the RWJF AI and the Healthcare Consumer Challenge. The challenge was created to find unique innovators creating AI-enabled tools to aid healthcare consumer decision making. As demonstrated by the submissions, AI is currently being investigated to help patients find appropriate providers, estimate the cost of care, have a more personalized health companion, and better understand personal health options. Furthermore, AI may improve health literacy and responsible health decision making by providing curated information that pertains to each individual’s needs. In a landscape where the shift to value-based care is gaining importance, AI has the opportunity to support personalized clinical strategies and even create systems that measure long-term outcomes for patients and providers.

As the challenge enters Phase 2, we are thrilled to congratulate 5 semi-finalists who have demonstrated promising solutions to help consumers make informed healthcare decisions!

Congratulations to:

  • Buoy Buoy is a platform that uses a probabilistic expert system to analyze systems, risk factors, and diagnoses in real time to direct patients to the right care at the right time.
  • INF Robotics (RUDY) INF Robotics created RUDY, the premier intuitive mobile social robot that is designed to promote an active and independent lifestyle while keeping older adults connected to their care community.  
  • Patient Price Patient Price is a mobile application that offers a simplified search experience for patients. It is designed to help patients compare costs, answer most common questions, and ultimately connect individuals with the best provider for their needs.
  • Sensentia Sensentia is a solution that simplifies and enhances benefit inquiries in payer call centers. Their AI solution understands natural language from any audience and provides accurate answers reasoned from structured and unstructured data.
  • Zatient Zatient is an artificially intelligent knowledge network to bridging the human and analytical aspects of decision making by intelligently synthesizing subjective, heuristic, and factual information into understandable and actionable outcomes.

The five semi-finalists were selected based on the following criteria:  impact of the solution, UI/UX design and functionality, leverage of AI, and patient engagement. Each of our semi-finalists will be awarded $5,000 to continue developing their solution or create a functioning prototype/working application. The semi-finalists will move onto a final judging round by an expert panel during our premiere live pitch event at the Health 2.0 Fall Conference.

Not only will our semi-finalists be able to demo their solutions in front of digital health industry leaders, but they will also receive cash prizes to invest in the advancement of their companies. The first place solution will win a grand prize of $50,000, second place will win $15,000, and the third prize will win $10,000.

For updates on the semi-finalists of the RWJF AI Challenge and to learn about additional digital health innovation programs, subscribe to the Catalyst @ Health 2.0 Newsletter, and follow @catalyst_h20 on Twitter.

Diana Chen is a Program Associate at Catalyst @ Health 2.0.

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