AMA COVID-19 daily video update: A look at innovation supporting physicians during the pandemic

August 31, 2020

Featured topic and speakers

AMA Chief Experience Officer Todd Unger talks with health care experts about innovations to support physicians, practices and health systems during COVID-19.

Learn more at the AMA COVID-19 resource center.


  • Nick Dougherty, managing director, Mass Challenge Health Tech
  • Beth Andrews, vice president, Managed Accounts, Moving Analytics
  • Josh Reischer, MD, founder and CEO, Health Note


Unger: Hello, this is the American Medical Association's COVID-19 update. Today we're talking about Mass Challenge Health Tech, a digital innovation hub, and how companies are innovating to support physicians, practices and health systems during COVID-19. I'm joined today by Nick Dougherty, managing director of Mass Challenge Health Tech in Salem, Massachusetts, Beth Andrews, vice president of managed accounts at Moving Analytics in Los Angeles and Dr. Josh Reischer, a physician and founder and CEO of Health Note, a startup working to reduce the physician administrative burden in San Francisco.

I'm Todd Unger, AMA's chief experience officer in Chicago. Mr. Dougherty, let's start with you. Can you tell us a little bit about Mass Challenge Health Tech, and specifically how it's supporting physicians during COVID-19?

Dougherty: Happy to Todd and thanks for inviting us here. So, Mass Challenge's mission is to solve the world's massive challenges through entrepreneurship and innovation. I run the Mass Challenge Health Tech program, and we are focused on health.

Our goal is to bring amazing entrepreneurs, to bear, to support physicians in addressing their challenges. And it's been such a pleasure to be able to team up with the American Medical Association to do just that. So these are two great entrepreneurs that are working on these challenges and excited to hear their stories today.

Unger: Ms. Andrews?

Andrews: Great. Thanks. We're excited to be here and it's just a really impactful time for virtual solutions. So, at Moving Analytics, we provide virtual home cardiac rehab. We're able to support physicians and patients and provide that care continuity to help manage the patient on their journey in managing the risk factors.

Unger: And Dr. Reischer?

Dr. Reischer: Thanks again so much for having us as well. So at Health Note, we automate, collect and organize data that patients give to their physicians. And we've seen really a huge burning need right now that anything that facilitates telemedicine is really, really impactful at this time. So it's been a very interesting time to be able to be here.

Unger: Well, Ms. Andrews, why don't you tell us a little bit more about the work that your company is doing and how you've been supporting healthcare professionals during the pandemic?

Andrews: Sure. So, Moving Analytics provides evidence based virtual home cardiac rehab. There's lots of challenges today in patients being able to access cardiac rehab. It is a Class 1A recommendation. There are many decades of published evidence, but it is challenging for patients to find a center that's nearby to go and do cardiac rehab during work, if they're back to work.

So, we deliver a virtual solution and we also have care managers that really form a relationship with the patient and support them, identifying the risk factors; coaching them and encouraging them. So with COVID-19 many centers have been closed or reopening are really constrained from capacity. So we can provide home cardiac rehab to anyone, anywhere.

Unger: Dr. Reischer... I'm sorry, go ahead.

Andrews: And I'll add that with the increased usage of telehealth and adoption with COVID-19, there has been really a surge in interest from health plans and payers to provide home cardiac rehab as a benefit.

They look at the outcomes from patients who participate and complete and graduate from cardiac rehab programs and they see those big outcome differentials. So payers and health plans are accelerating adoption and coverage of home cardiac rehab today.

Unger: And Dr. Reischer, tell us about your work and how that's been changing during the pandemic.

Dr. Reischer: So at Health Note, again, we collect, organize and document patient's information. So, essentially we ask patients all the questions a physician would normally ask during a visit, but we do it before the visit. So we send them a text message, they answer all of these questions. We enable them to prepare for their visit before it actually happens.

And functionally, what we do has not changed at all, but the medium in which physicians are seeing their patients of course has gone up and down between in-person and via telemedicine. So the ability to have all that information upfront has significantly helped.

So, when a physician is seeing patients via telemedicine beforehand, they may have had one or two other people who have gathered information from patients beforehand, written that information into the EMR, but now they're doing it all themselves.

It becomes that much more burdensome for them to ask all of these questions, document all that information. And they essentially don't have as much time with their patients. So we help in that middle process gathering all of that, doing all of the tasks that take a lot of time for them and enable them to do their job.

Unger: Do you have any sense of what portion of that EHR episode per patient you take off the plate of the physician because you've already done it?

Dr. Reischer: We're finding actually between 30 and 60 percent. It really depends on the specialty. So for example, if we're talking about internal medicine or neurology where it's more history focused, we're taking 60+ percent. If it's more of a surgical sub-specialty, it might be a little bit less, but either way, we're finding a huge value in multiple different specialties. And we're working with folks around the country.

Unger: Well, that's amazing, to be in a world right now, especially where, for every hour of face to face contact with the patients, you've got physicians spending two hours in an EMR. So to be able to take that kind of chunk off could have a huge impact.

Dr. Reischer: That is our goal.

Unger: Amazing. Mr. Dougherty, you interact with a lot of health system partners. What are you hearing from physicians and health systems about their needs in terms of innovation right now, or any key learnings that will influence your work going forward?

Dougherty: ... to me, I think one of the biggest challenges that we're seeing right now is the uncertainty around the incentive structures. So we have just had to transition from an almost entirely in-person apparatus to a very virtually first driven apparatus. And so I think with that comes a lot of challenges.

And so when you're looking at, how am I going to invest in the future of my practice? There's a lot of questions around what that future looks like. And so I think we're hearing from a lot of our health systems that they want to see more from their government.

They want to see more from the health plans in terms of what that future looks like, so that when they make these investments in digital, they know it's not temporary. They know it's something that they can invest in for the long term. So we're hearing a lot from our physician groups around that.

And I think they're also saying, "Wow, we had digital as part of our three to five year strategy. Now, how do we do that?" In three to five days, three to five weeks, three to five months, it's really something that they're grappling with.

And so I think what the American Medical Association has done a really good job at, is try to get that out in front and say, "Here's how we think about telehealth. Here's how we think about remote patient monitoring. Here's how you can implement it in their practice."

So what I'd recommend for people that are listening to this, if you haven't already checked out some of the playbooks, I would take a look at that. And if you want to learn more about innovation or digital, that's something that we specialize in. And we'd love to help answer some of those questions because we know this is a really challenging time for a lot of practices.

Unger: Ms. Andrews, anything to add about innovation in terms of what you're finding people are looking for?

Andrews: They're just looking for value-based, evidence-based solutions. And technology that is really easy to use. Something that can be turned on and ramped up really quickly. So, at Moving Analytics, we've really taken that process of, which has been helpful to serve so many patients with COVID-19 right now, is we've been able to take that implementation and do that in a matter of days, not months. So it's scalable.

For full transcript click here

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