Exploring AI and the Future of Healthcare with Jordon Ritchie

Summary

Jordan Ritchie, CEO of AI Medica, discusses the role of AI in healthcare transformation in a podcast. He emphasizes AI’s role as a tool aiding rather than replacing human decision-making in medicine. AI Medica leverages AI to optimize electronic health records (EHRs) for improved patient care. The company aims to automate physician workflows, generate evidence-based risk scores, and enhance patient outcomes by simplifying data access and application. Ritchie’s background in molecular biology and informatics led him to the intersection of technology and healthcare. He shares insights on the potential and limitations of AI in healthcare, addressing misconceptions about its capabilities and the importance of aligning technology with patient needs.

Key Takeaways

AI in Healthcare: Ritchie emphasizes AI as a tool to aid rather than replace human decision-making in medicine, focusing on optimizing electronic health records (EHRs).

AI Medica’s Focus: The company leverages AI to automate physician workflows, generate evidence-based risk scores, and improve patient outcomes by simplifying data access in healthcare.

Background and Expertise: Ritchie’s background in molecular biology and informatics shaped his journey into healthcare technology and his focus on the intersection of technology and patient care.

Potential and Limitations of AI: He addresses misconceptions about AI’s capabilities, stressing its limitations as a tool dependent on data and patterns rather than autonomous decision-making.

Aligning Technology with Patient Needs: The discussion highlights the importance of aligning technology with patient needs, focusing on accessibility and engagement in healthcare.

Transcript

Bryce Barger

Joining me today, guys, is Jordon Ritchie. He’s the CEO of AI Medica. He is a software developer with a PhD in informatics and data science. He’s focused on optimizing electronic health records to improve patient care and decrease physician burden. AI Medica is a digital health company. They leverage the power of AI and artificial intelligence to unlock the true potential of EHR data. It automates physician workflows and deploys evidence-based risk scores to improve patient care. With a focus on improving patient outcomes, AI Medica aims to increase access and research data to point of care. So in this episode, we will delve deep into Jordon’s journey, how AI Medica is changing the game and the difference it’s making in patient and in provider’s lives. Thank you for joining us today, Jordon. How are you?

Jordon Ritchie

Great to be here, Bryce. I’m doing really well. Thank you.

Bryce Barger

So to kind of get started here, could you tell us a little bit more about your background, kind of how you decided to get into the health tech entrepreneur world and what that journey looks like for you?

Jordon Ritchie

Yeah, I originally told myself that I wasn’t going to do this. I started out kind of on a life science track. I really thought that I was going to become a researcher. I was in molecular biology and specifically in genetics and genomics. I was pushing pipettes in labs and doing experiments. I was introduced to bioinformatics briefly and I was initially fascinated by it. I kind of kept pressing on that vein and it grew and grew and I eventually started working for a small startup that was doing genomics startup. They were looking at trying to identify rare diseases using broad genomic analysis. They had a really cool platform. I was in this startup, you wear every hat imaginable so I was learning a ton outside of the science itself as well. Unhappy ending there, company went under but learned a ton and that kind of set me on this path away from sort of the research realm. I kept going down the software development route and I really wrestled with whether I wanted to really continue down that research route. If I wanted to go back to get an MD and become a doctor, I really got interested in health and the intersection of technology and healthcare and ultimately decided to, after working as a software developer for another year or two, decided to go back and get my PhD and so I went to South Carolina at the Medical University of South Carolina and studied biomedical informatics and data science and there I discovered electronic health record systems where there’s an enormous gap both technologically and in data and the use of data in healthcare and it just, I don’t know, it spoke to me. It seemed like the it just seemed like my place. It seemed like where I wanted to add value and graduated and connected through a VC firm with my business partner, Dr. Adam Robison who had founded AImedica. Amazing he’s an amazing guy. He’s one of those guys that operates at such a high level of efficiency. He gets so much done. Anyway, he started this company but he’s also still being a doctor and he’s like, I need technology. I need somebody who can come help me run this company. I said, well, I’ll bring the technology. He said, I’ve got the medicine. It was a match made in heaven. We’ve been working together ever since and that’s how I got into where I am.

Bryce Barger

So you also did some missionary work in Thailand, is that correct?

Jordon Ritchie

I did, yeah. That was a huge part of my genesis and really turned me into a much more compassionate person. It broadened my perspective, helped me see the world very differently. I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and we serve missions. For two years, we put our paperwork in and the church leadership makes a decision about where we’ll serve for two years and I received a call to go to Thailand. I was all over Thailand. I spent almost a year in Bangkok and six months up north in Chiang Mai area and then went out to the northeast in the east end. It was transformative. We learned the language. We lived much closer to the people than if you go on vacation, you go stay at a resort or something like that. We lived in an apartment in a neighborhood with a whole bunch of other people and boots on the ground. We got to see the world in a very different way. For a 19-year-old kid, it was super eye-opening. It was a totally different experience. I participated in lots of different things and served in lots of different ways and really got out of myself. I recognized what I have and what I’ve been given and blessed with and had an opportunity to give something back. It was hugely transformative for me. It really changed my approach to my career, my business, and who I wanted to be and what kind of projects I wanted to be involved in and how I wanted to lead my life.

Bryce Barger

Yeah, for sure. I could only imagine how rewarding that would be to be able to go over and experience the different culture. Like you mentioned, when you go as Americans and you go over and experience some of the other countries, you do get that resort feel. But when you get to dive deep into the true culture, the streets, and get fully immersed in their cultures is so rewarding. Then to be giving back in a missionary-type state is fantastic. Thank you for sharing that. To get back to the technology side of stuff, I know nowadays, of course, everybody is very interested in AI, artificial intelligence, AI. Let’s go. Oh my gosh. And the potential that it has. How do you think AI is going to affect the healthcare industry in the next 10 to 20 years? Or really even more than that, 5 to 10 years, I would say, of how things are going?

Jordon Ritchie

I think it’s going to transform it. I think like any really exciting technology, there’s tons of transformative potential here, and we’re seeing a ton of that transformative … We’re realizing that transformative potential. But I also think there’s a lot of froth. I think that there’s a lot of excitement that’s misunderstood. And that’s also very common in new technologies. Once people get their hands around a hammer, everything becomes a nail. And we do have some of that. So I think on the one hand, there’s some tasks and jobs that AI is very, very well positioned to help automate, very, very well positioned to help expedite and do. There’s other jobs and tasks that people are very excited about AI doing that I don’t think AI is going to be very effective and isn’t going to have exactly the kind of impact that people are looking for. I come back to this all the time. AI is just math. It does imitate what looks like intelligence. And people get really hung up. I see an article a week about AI becoming sentient. And I just wrote an article about this too. I’m looking for some places to get it published here. There’s a look for that coming out soon somewhere. But I just wrote an article about this. And it’s not … I’ll just be bold. I don’t think AI is ever going to be sentient. I don’t think that’s a thing. We’re just talking about math. We’re talking about algorithms running in the background based on patterns that they find in data. And at the end of the day, these algorithms aren’t making decisions. They don’t have agency. They just blindly follow the pattern. They’re dispassionate. They’re going to spit back to you whatever you give to them in the first place. I think that in some industries where you can give really, really, really good data with solid patterns in the data, you’re going to get a great application of AI. That’s why AI is working so well in imaging. Because when you give images to an algorithm, each image is a complete picture. It has all of its pixels. And it’s easy to spot a picture that’s missing pixels. And if you give an AI algorithm pictures that are missing pixels, your output’s going to be missing pixels. Or it’s going to have pixels in weird places. And so something like images does really, really well. But when you take data that’s incomplete, like a patient record, for example, patient records are not complete pictures. They’re missing enormous chunks that are siloed away in different health systems. Even if you took all of a patient’s data from every hospital or doctor’s office they’ve ever been to, and you managed to coalesce that all into one record, it would still not be a complete picture of the patient. And so the idea that we’re going to throw all of that incomplete data into an algorithm and then expect it to produce outputs that doesn’t have holes, that doesn’t have errors and make mistakes, that doesn’t work that way because it can only follow the pattern. And so stuff like that makes me really nervous around certain applications of AI because, again, it’s just hammer and nail. Everybody’s swinging this AI hammer at whatever they can. And if you hammer in a nail, it works really well. But if you try and hammer in a screw or a bracket or something that’s not a nail, it doesn’t work so great. And so I think there’s a lot of froth. I think there’s a lot of misconception about what AI is, how it actually works, how it’s actually deployed, and how to control the types of outputs and outcomes that you get with your AI. I think there’s a lot of growing that the general consumers of AI need to understand as we move forward that will help a great deal.

Bryce Barger

I think, as you said, with anything new, there’s that learning curve and there’s that general excitement where people just rush in without doing the proper, have the proper knowledge, the proper research. So I agree with that 100% Richie. I think that’s fantastically well said.

Jordon Ritchie

There’s another side to this too that I should probably highlight, and that is this fear that we should just disabuse anybody who may still be under this impression that AI is going to somehow start replacing people. And it’s true that there are some tasks that AI is well suited to do really, really well. But it’s actually a lot more difficult for AI to replace people than I think people think. And there’s something called the Fundamental Theorem of Biomedical Informatics. It’s posited by Charles Friedman that says that a computer plus a human is better than a human or a computer by itself. And the reality is that AI will always need to be paired with humans. Period. I read a quote recently from somebody at the American Medical Association who said something like I’m convinced that computers will never replace doctors but doctors who use AI will replace doctors who don’t use AI. The point is that AI is going to become a companion tool, not a replacement solution. And especially in medicine. And we’re seeing this even with Dianne Medica. Our aim is not to replace the doctor. Our goal is to augment the doctor. To remove tasks from the doctor that the doctor either doesn’t have time to do but should be doing. Usually tasks the doctor wants to do but doesn’t have time to be doing. Or to another way is speed up and enhance doctor’s ability to care for patients. There’s another iteration on that theorem of biomedical informatics from Charles Friedman. They did a really interesting experiment around chess using these AI algorithms. They’ve got some AI algorithms that play chess really, really well. And they did this experiment where they said we’re going to have some grandmasters operating alone. We’re going to have some grandmasters with a single AI resource. We’re going to have some AI resources playing by themselves. And we’re going to have some other chess players playing with a bunch of AI resources. And we’re going to do a tournament. Interestingly, the team that won was an amateur chess player who was using multiple chess algorithms as he was playing. And that amateur chess player with multiple AI algorithms ended up beating the grandmasters. Beat the grandmasters who were using a single AI resource. Beat the AI resources. And they really expound on this and they say a weak human using many AI resources and a good process is better than a strong human working with a single even many AI processes and a weak process. So there’s something to be said for the power of combining a great process with strong AI algorithms. You can turn a crappy doctor into an awesome doctor. But the point is it won’t replace the doctor.

Bryce Barger

I was about to recap. I love what you said there where you said, listen, AI is not meant to be a replacement solution. It’s meant to be a tool. And I think that really hits the nail on the head of how AI should be looked at. Because you’re right, there’s always going to need to be the checks and balances. The AI will never know what it’s not input, what’s not input into it. So I think there’s always, I agree with that, where there will always need to be, I guess to get the full scope and to get everything out of AI there will always need to be that human input and that human use of it to really put it to its full use. So I love what you said there

Jordon Ritchie

Well, AI Medica was founded by Dr. Adam Robison, who like just about every doctor who’s ever interacted with an EHR experiences significant pain in the electronic health record system. You’ve seen those billboards that say something like, I love back pain, said no one ever. Yeah, that’s kind of how doctors read. I love EHR, said no doctor ever. And that’s a terrible loss. EHRs were supposed to be this huge improvement on how we manage our medical data and it was supposed to provide enormous benefits from a management standpoint, documentation standpoint, from treatment and clinical research and all these different things. The reality is that it hasn’t delivered on any of those promises. And it’s not a technology problem. It’s a business political problem. And by saying it’s not a technology problem, what I mean is that we understand how the technology should work to provide those values. But politically and from a business perspective, the technology hasn’t been implemented that way. And we’re in that space, EHRs are leveraging all kinds of bad practices that have been, that aren’t in use in any other industry that’s doing amazing things with large amounts of data. You think about what we’re accomplishing with online banking and with air travel and with e-commerce and with all of these large industries that are leveraging big data and access and security and all these different things. We’re not doing that stuff in healthcare, not with EHRs, not the way that we should. And it’s not because we don’t know how and it’s not because we can’t. It’s just because those who are in power have chosen not to for various reasons that are unfortunately selfish and not in our general interest. But there have been positive steps forward recently with legislation come out from the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology to open up EHRs and mandate adherence to common data standards. This is the Substitutical Medical Apps and Usable Technologies on Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource, also known as Smart on Fire that makes it easier for, defines a common way for data to be exchanged between health systems, promote interoperability and start tearing down some of the barriers to entry for innovative startups and companies so that they can get in with the data and actually produce value in a technology environment that so far has arguably provided, has arguably underachieved given its potential. Right.

Bryce Barger

And I think people in the everyday world who are not in healthcare technology I don’t think they fully understand the benefit of having a truly effective EHR and what that can do to patient outcomes and what that can do to just so many things around the board. So I guess, you know No, absolutely.

Jordon Ritchie

I totally agree. And part of the reason that the EHR was such a focus initially was because for Dr. Robinson, he spends so much time, he’s like, I’ve got to make this better for myself. And so there was a very, you know, eat your own dog food esque-ness, very eat your own dog food vibe to how AMM became. And for me I’m not a doctor. I’m not that kind of doctor, right? I don’t see patients. And so for me, it’s like, I’m looking at this more from, I think that EHRs are, could be the equalizing force for patients in healthcare. You know, we always talk about Oh, healthcare is about the patient. We got to engage the patient. We got to get to the patient. We got to help the patient. And for all the talk we have about the patient, there’s nobody more disenfranchised in healthcare than the patient. They’re so removed from their healthcare and the biggest reason for that is because it’s data. Patients are completely removed from healthcare because they don’t have access to their data, at least not easy access to their data. And you think about what we do with our money, you can access multiple financial institutions and link them across to each other super simply. Yeah. Because they, we just the finance sector has adopted application programming interfaces and they’ve avoided the disincentive of hoarding data because the end user, we won’t tolerate that, right? We won’t use their services if our money can’t be shared. And so it’s like, and so that’s why the security and the HIPAA compliance and the, not the HIPAA compliance, but the security argument, the privacy argument that no data should be shared doesn’t hold water, right? Yes. I’m all about HIPAA. I’m all about privacy. I’m all about security and we adhere to all of that. And we’re very careful. We don’t store any PHI. We’re, you know, we do everything on the up and up. Everything’s above board. And we need that. That has to be. But the argument that a lot of these EHR, big EHR players have pushed is that because of privacy and security, there can be no data access and no data sharing. That’s a lie. It’s just not true. And if you dial security all the way to a hundred percent, you don’t have a product, right? If you can’t access the data at all, you can’t do anything, even from a user standpoint. And that’s what we’re seeing. Doctors can’t really do anything with the EHR that’s useful clinically. Patients can’t do anything with the EHR until, I mean, until very recently and still kind of coming into being. Patients had to pay and wait for a long time to like have a PDF of their record printed out into like a bound book. Like it’s crazy what we’re, you know, some of the practices here. With the technology we have, it’s what are we doing? I think there’s a huge opportunity for the EHR. Once it’s opened up and once we can really optimize it, turn it into what it should have been all along. I think there’s a humongous opportunity to not only transform the technology in a way that significantly benefits the way doctors treat patients, but also to engage patients where healthcare happens. Dr. Robinson says this all the time. Healthcare happens in the home. You know, the 20 years or, you know, sorry, like, you know, the 20 or 30 years that lead up to a chronic disease, that happens in the home. That doesn’t happen in the hospital. They just end up in the hospital as the result of those 20 or 30 years. And we’re not reaching patients there, right? And the way to do it is data.

Bryce Barger

Yeah. Can you kind of elaborate more on the impact of the dynamic risk scores and kind of how those are automatically generated based on the patient’s problem list with AI Medica?

Jordon Ritchie

Yeah, sure. So we build the clinical decision support tools. One of our products that is aiming to simplify the workflows for physicians who are beholden to hundreds or even thousands of potential medical risk scores that require input from data in the EHR. And then they’ve got to know which scores map to which patients. And they’ve got to manually hunt down the data, plug it in. We’re talking about lab values and vitals and medications and problems and all kinds of other things that they have to, you know, go dig out of the EHR, put into these calculators. Oftentimes they’re in third-party websites. Sometimes they’re not on any website at all and try and get to some kind of outcome. You know, some, you know, what’s this patient’s in-hospital mortality or what’s their comorbidity for stroke or what’s their, you know, some piece of information that’s going to help them treat their patient or make a decision. And what Adam, Dr. Robinson realized was that this, you know, these scores living outside of the EHR was just, it was a time killer for his workflow. It was just sucking up all of his documentation time and it was making it super hard for him to apply these, you know, to practice evidence-based medicine the way that he really wanted to practice it. And so he’s like, well, these just need to integrate. And so he started looking at how to do that. And, you know, he has a knack for just figuring stuff out. And he got really far before I, you know, before he and I connected. And he was doing things all the right way too. He was using all the right standardsand he’s integrating in all the right places. And I said, hey, I can help you do this. And so we came on and we started working out together. And what we’ve done is built a tool that can look at the chart of the patient, you know, look at the patient’s chart and make some initial guesses, some good educated guesses about, hey, you know, based on this patient’s problems and their vitals and their current situation, here’s a set of risk scores that look highly applicable. And once we’ve identified those calculators that look highly applicable to the patient, we can also go look into the EHR and say, hey, by the way, we can also say here’s the data elements that match with the inputs to these calculators. We’ll just pull it over for you automatically. And that’s beautiful because then the physicians who, you know, they get a small focused curated list of calculators that apply to this patient that then they can say, All right, you know, rather than considering 700 calculators, they can consider five, you know, or three, and, and they might only need one or two, right? And that’s great. That’s totally fine.It’s all in there. They can go look at the one they want to look at. And, you know, some of those, we might not be able to pull all the values over, but they might open it up and it says, you know, clinical assessment required, they pull it open and maybe, you know, we’ve been able to pull over two thirds of them. The things that aren’t in the EHR that we can’t pull over are things that only the doctor would know anyway.

Jordon Ritchie

All right, you know, rather than considering 700 calculators, they can consider five, you know, or three, and, and they might only need one or two, right? And that’s great. That’s totally fine.

It’s all in there. They can go look at the one they want to look at. And, you know, some of those, we might not be able to pull all the values over, but they might open it up and it says, you know, clinical assessment required, they pull it open and maybe, you know, we’ve been able to pull over two thirds of them. The things that aren’t in the EHR that we can’t pull over are things that only the doctor would know anyway.

Bryce Barger

Right?

Jordon Ritchie

And so then it’s just a couple of quick answers that they know right off the top of their head and boom, they have their assessment and then they’re able to go treat their patient. And many of these are super valuable, not just to the doctor and to the way they treat the patient, but also the hospitals, right? Because these things are around, you know, should this patient be hospitalized or can this patient be treated without patient care?

What’s the risk of a major bleed or a, or a, in-hospital mortality or something like that. Right? You know, and that, that has, those things have major implications for how hospitals get charged.

Bryce Barger

I know, I know reemission rates are so huge coming, coming from the hospital side. So being able to, for the doctor, the hospitals to be able to kind of look at those, those dynamic risk scores and that, that, that, that’s massive. I know you, you, you briefly spoke on it when we were, when we were answering earlier recently, I know we’ve seen a real exponential increase on cyber attacks, especially in the healthcare industry.

How does AI Medica kind of ensure that all the data that it, that it compiles and that it can help transfer? How is, how is that safe? How is that secure?

Jordon Ritchie

That’s a great question. I really should have my, should have my chief technology officer on here to tell you all about that. But I can tell you from a high level without getting really deep into the weeds here.

We, so there’s a, there’s, there’s a piece of reading here that I wish every, everybody in health technology would read. And it’s, it’s not really a, it’s not like a, it’s not a book or an article. It’s actually kind of a, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a funny piece of material because it was written by a guy who worked at Amazon and he worked at Google five years at both places.

And he wrote an internal memo while he was at Google, detailing the things that big data was doing well at Amazon and that Google wasn’t doing very well at the time he was there. And then he posted it on the Google circles platform, which was kind of part of his point was to say this platform isn’t working very well. And he thought it was going to be a private communication to his, to, to Google. And it actually posted publicly and went viral. Right. So he thought for sure he was going to be fired.

I think in a lot of ways that actually kind of like elevated his career in an interesting way.

But, and he wasn’t fired and he was exactly right. And his point probably, his name is Steve Yege.

And if you just Google Steve Yege’s rant, you’ll probably find it. It’s posted on GitHub somewhere. It’s kind of this like revered document in the developer community. But he, among many things he said that were brilliant. One of the things he said that I’ve, I’ve held onto and has really changed the way that I think about security is he, he describes the tension that exists between security and access. And these things are always, always in contention with each other.

Right. And that makes sense. Like you’re trying to, you’re trying to find a safe way for people to access data, but keep it secure.

Make sure only the right people access it. Right. And anytime you open up a door to data, there’s the potential for it to get hacked or misused. And so the result is a lot of these healthcare companies who rightfully are terrified of consequences of having data breaches. Right. They slam that door. Right. Nobody can access or very, very, very restricted second access. And what’s really interesting about that. And he makes this argument is like, look, it’s possible to have now, this isn’t the way that healthcare should do it, but he says it’s possible to have a low security, high access technology and still have a product. And he names Sony PlayStation network as a reasonable example. And it’s true. You get on the Sony PlayStation network for five minutes and you run the risk of downloading a virus. But, but there’s still a network and tons of people still play and you’ve got a product there. That’s not a model for healthcare. Don’t, don’t anybody take my words here and twist them the wrong way. I’m not advocating for that, but his point is that you can have low security and a product. But if you dial security to a hundred percent, you have no product.

There is no successful, anything out there that’s ratcheted security all the way to the top. And because that necessarily dials access all the way to zero. Right.

And so the point that he makes is that what we really need to do is we need to adopt best practices of technology around security and access so that a, we can have a product, but B so we can have good security. And his real argument that’s brilliant is that if you provide good access, right? If you’re really thinking about access and doing, doing best practices around how you provide access to your data, you’ll actually have better security than if you don’t. And that’s what we see in healthcare right now. Access is dialed close to zero security is dialed all the way to the top. And we have more breaches a year, every year over a year than, than ever. If you, and there’s several research articles that you could, I mean, you don’t have to look very far to find it. Those graphs are exponential. They look like this. Last time I checked it was, I think it was, you know, they had data up through like 21 or something or through 22. I’m sure it’s more now, but, but they had the year that I checked there, which was like 2021 or 2022. The number of breaches of 500 or more records per year was like twice a day, which is insane to think about.

Bryce Barger

Right.

Jordan Ritchie

I mean, you can imagine the financial sector, if you had that many breaches every year of, you know, like if, if your bank was like, yeah, you know, we have 500 or more clients have their bank accounts compromised twice a day, every day of the year. You’d have no customers. Yeah.

And we can, you know, we, we have to go through significant, you know, very stringent reviews and audits from a security standpoint before we install into a hospital system. You know, we’ve, we’ve installed with some pretty security conscious groups. We’re, we’re, we’re, we’re very, very careful about how we handle our data.

Bryce Barger

Yeah, there’s definitely a fine, always a fine line of, of, of just what you spoke to, of being able to keep the, the access to be able to be innovative and to be able to share and to be able to grow, but then also keep yourself, keep yourself safe. So I love that. That’s a focus of AI Medica as well.

So kind of jumping back to patients and providers and kind of what AI Medica looks like to the patients and the providers. I know in your work, the emphasis for you guys is definitely on actionable results and improving patient outcomes. So how does these evidence-based results kind of improve the quality compliance and enhance physician workflow efficiency?

What are some of the high level points that help the efficiency and patient outcomes?

Jordan Ritchie

Well, well, you know, an immediate reality is the doctors are spending 50% of their time in the EHR strictly documenting and you know, when you’re trying to do. Yeah, it’s an enormous amount of time that there’s, and mostly on tasks that can be automated that they shouldn’t be spending their time on anyway. But you think about, think about how much time they have to spend doing some of these things that really are not, it’s nothing they go to school for.

They don’t go to school, learn how to document a patient chart to optimize it for an insurance reimbursement or anything like that. I mean, there’s whole teams and departments of hospitals are sort of dedicated to that, but they still expect doctors to do way more in that department than they ever signed up for or ever should be expected to do. It’s not their, that’s just not their, their role.

Yeah, exactly. And, and so a huge part of this is, you know, they’re so tied up with that stuff that then you throw, oh, hey, by the way, we have this exploding body of evidence that suggests you should be treating your patients in all these different ways. You know, you’re talking about thousands of, thousands of resources across thousands of patients across a doctor, you know, a week or a month or whatever the time.

I mean, it’s, and then you think about all the data that goes into those calculators and it’s exponential, right? You know, 700 calculators, and then the data that it depends on is many, many more data inputs, right? And doctors are responsible for every single one of those inputs.

And so the reality is, is that doctors don’t have, they don’t, they don’t do some of this stuff, you know, these evidence-based medicine, evidence-based calculus, risk scores, and things like that. They don’t have the time and, or they only go out when it’s really severe, right? And, and put like the pain has to be really high before they’ll be, you know, be really pushed to go do that.

And now we’re, we make it out, you know, we automate it and we make it almost pleasurable for the physician. That’s the other thing. We don’t spam doctors either.

It’s not like, you know, like Dr. Robinson, you know, tells me, it’s like, I have their software that’s integrated with my EHR that’s been programmed to just turn on and flash in my face every single time I open a patient chart. And he’s like, and it’s not even, it’s not useful every time. And it drives me nuts. He’s like, it’s just, it’s like, it’s like going to a website and having a bunch of, a bunch of pop-ups jump up at you, trying to read an article. And you’re like, I was, I was in the middle of something, get out of my way. You know, I’m trying to do something right now.

That’s not what we want either. Right. We, the last thing that our doctors need is more noise.

And so we’ve, we’re, we’re creating tools that the doctors actually like want to go click the button because they want to see the results of what we’re running and what we’re doing for them by, because we’re supporting them and we’re helping them be more efficient. We’re helping them. So we’ve seen a huge, we’ve seen just organic adoption from our doctors because they love, they love having access to this stuff.

They, this is what they wanted EHRs to be in the first place, which translates to more consistent application of EHR data to treating patients, which, which is exactly what EHRs were supposed to deliver in the first place. Right. Is that the data would flow through algorithms, risk scores that have been validated, which all of the risk scores we implement are from literature or are from studies and efforts have been done by hospitals and doctors and researchers.

And, and we, they want to see that data flow through those algorithms and produce mortality risks and morbidity risks and treatment risks and outcomes, all this stuff. So they can make decisions that benefit their patients.

Bryce Barger

Yeah, definitely. Kind of bouncing off that point. Could you tell us a little bit more about the, the learning kind of health system and, and kind of how that will transform healthcare delivery?

Jordan Ritchie

Yeah, the pie in the sky that I dreamed and all dreams. The learning health system is just this idea that we get to a point where the data was of such high and sufficient quality and the algorithms were able to integrate with such ease and high security that you would be able to feed the outcomes of the hospital’s usage of tools and, and, and algorithms back into the algorithms. You get this virtuous loop, right?

Where you’d be able to be continuously producing new understanding and new linking and new knowledge, new insights into how to do patient care. You’d almost really merge.

You’d merge treatment and research in a way, right? It’s this idea that you’d, that you would be able to have technology supplement or support or help the physician and be so effective that the physician is freed up to be able to treat the patient and observe while they’re treating the patient. And that we’d be able to collect the, the outcomes of those decisions that the physicians make, and then apply additional research and algorithms on those outcomes and those inputs to produce additional insights, right? That result in, you know, it’s, it’s this ever incrementally improving care or, or delivery of care based on the delivery of care, right? Which right now it all happens isolated in a vacuum, you know, in a box type of thing. And they’re not very well coalesced together and the data is incomplete and there’s lots of holes, lots of missing and distorted pixels, right? And if we tried to do something like that now, put that data through an algorithm, the algorithm is dutifully going to tell us something. We just won’t be able to trust it.

Bryce Barger

Yes, definitely. So Jordan, I really appreciate you kind of sharing that insight with us in the audience today, kind of wrapping up. Are there any upcoming projects or developments that AI Medica are currently working on that you’re allowed there that you could share with the audience to kind of give us a, maybe a brief kind of sneak peek into the background of AI Medica and what you guys are working on? Yeah, for sure.

Jordan Ritchie

We’re, so this, this initial project or initial product that we’ve built this, these clinical decision support mechanism, delivery mechanism, automation for physicians, we realized that, you know, a lot of people say, oh, and so you’re a calculator company. And it’s true. We do have a use case around calculus. We’re, we’ve realized we’re not really a calculator company. We’re a patient chart review company. And, and what that really means is we can take that, you know, that’s where doctors spend an enormous amount of their time or struggle to spend a lot of their time is reviewing patient charts is being able to see, you know, catch all those esoteric data points and be responsible for those and understand also the context of those data elements and what they mean in, in how they treat their patients.

So we realized we have this, this power to review the patient chart really effective and efficiently. And now we’re trying to apply it to something that physicians are also expected to do, but hate doing even more than documentation in EHR. And that is, they really hate getting these emails on a regular basis from coding departments saying, hey, you documented that the, you know, this patient had this disease. Did you mean this disease? And they’re like, it’s the same disease. Yeah.

But the code is different. And that impacts how the hospital gets paid. Right. And the doctor’s like, I don’t care, man. I treated this patient several weeks ago or months ago. And I barely remember that day, you know, it was a night shift and I was going on 40 hours with no sleep and, you know, like, give me a break. And so there’s definitely a, there’s an opportunity there for us to significantly automate that process so that physicians don’t have to think about that stuff. They shouldn’t have to think about that stuff. Right. And then we can significantly decrease a huge channel of noise that vies for physicians, cognitive space, freeze them up then to go do what they want to do is treat patients, take care of them.

Bryce Barger

That’s another thing where, which is, it’s so, it’s, it’s so almost weird in the healthcare world where they expect doctors, but their expertise is not coding some of those coders, those certified coders, they go to school for that. They just like the doctor does for cardiology, for diabetes, for endocrinology. Right. And it’s just like, it’s so weird. And that’s such a big part of the healthcare system. It’s such a big impact on the patient that you would think that there would be better checks and balances already in place.

So I know. Yeah, definitely.

Jordan Ritchie

And, and there’s an easy solution to it. And that’s what we’re trying to do.

 

Bryce Barger

So with AI Medica and your expertise, Jordan, in the field, what are some advice or maybe some suggestions that kind of in closing that would kind of that you would give to innovators in the healthcare and healthcare space and the informatics space? What are some, maybe some advice or suggestions you would, you would like to give out?

Jordan Ritchie

We need more innovation. We need more people willing to, willing to take that chance.

There’s a really interesting movement, right? Okay. So I’ve, we’re at the beginning of an S curve here. Data in the HR is only going to become more accessible, not less. The government has passed legislation. And I think we’ll continue to pass legislation that will move towards that end because it’s, it’s, you know, access to data is going to drive huge financial outcomes for the government and for everybody else abroad. So I think we can continue to expect to see that.

So as data opens up and becomes more accessible, I think there’s going to be a huge opportunity for us to optimize HRs to be what they ultimately should have been all along. I think also that there’s a tremendous, so tremendous opportunity there. So I would say we need, we need more innovators, need more people willing to take that plunge.

In the past, it’s been hard to, because the risk has been perceived to be so high. I think that there is a lot of fear around innovation and healthcare that, that I, that rightfully exists. It’s been a, a lot of people have been significantly burned and some very high profile, right? They’ve, I don’t think that a top-down approach is going to, is going to solve the issue. That’s where a lot of people get really interested. They get really interested in the Amazon and the, and the JP Morgan collaborations. And they get really interested in a Google and the, you know, these large initiatives that get a lot of press and a lot of attention, but so far have not, you know, it’s either publicly failed or, or have quietly not delivered anything of, of major. Wow. That was, that’s transformative.

I think that this is going to be very much an innovator still on a ground up impact on the industry. I think we’re going to see, I think we’re going to see innovation that starts to be able to thrive in this space. That’s going to start to redefine what our health technology landscape really looks like.

I think that that opportunity is on the horizon and we need to keep pressing forward on that. I would also say too, that if we’re getting into, there’s a tremendous amount of interest. There’s a huge movement right now from physicians towards technology and innovation.

Bryce Barger

Yeah.

Jordan Ritchie

There are a lot of physicians who are, and, and, and it’s a good thing and a bad thing, right? On one side, it’s like, I’m getting really nervous because a lot of our physicians are so fed up with healthcare. It’s like, I don’t want to be a doctor anymore.

Bryce Barger

Right.

Jordan Ritchie

Which is a bad deal. Look, if the physicians all leave the hospitals, you’re going to, you know, it doesn’t, it’s no longer a hospital. It’s a morgue.

Bryce Barger

And so it’s like, we’ve got to have physicians in the hospitals and the tools because if we don’t have the doctors in the, in the hospital, all these, all this data and these tools that we’re compiling that we’re innovating on what, who, who’s going to use them, who’s going to really put them to use.

Jordan Ritchie

But Bryce is worse than that. If we don’t have doctors in the hospitals, then the hospital has just become a place where you store dead bodies. Like we’re not, it’s a bad deal. Right. And so I think that, you know, the real point that I’m making there is that on the one hand, we’ve got physicians who are really disenchanted with this conglomerate version of healthcare and are really struggling. We’ve got to support them. We’ve got to give them technology that incentivizes them to stay and helps them treat their patients better. And, and, and so there’s, that’s the, you know, the con right now is that physicians are trying to leave healthcare. The pro is that most of them are trying to get into some version of technology.

They’re trying to solve the problem. They’re like, look, if you guys aren’t going to solve it, we’ll come solve it. And it’s like, okay, that’s good and bad. There’s, there’s obviously pros and cons here. And obviously AI Medica wouldn’t exist if Dr. Robinson hadn’t said, all right, I’m going to do something about this. Right. And that’s fantastic. But my advice there, because I know I get, I get contacted by physicians all the time who are saying, Hey, I’m trying to make the jump into technology. Like, how do I do this? You know, how do I think about this? What, what do I need to go get additional education? Like, how do I, and so, so some, some, some advice there, I would say is like, look, be, be Dr. Robinson. You’re the medical, go find the technology partner because that combination of the right technology partner and the right medical partner equals AI Medica or, or the equivalent. Right. And that’s where we’ve really found a ton of success is that Adam and, or Dr. Robinson and I have that combination that’s enabling us to take what Adam knows as a doctor, his medical acumen ability, knowledge, and understanding and translate it into user experience that physicians really want and need. And the electronic health record system is becoming the vehicle to deploy those changes into healthcare to ultimately create an environment that physicians don’t want to leave. Right. Right.

And so to the extent that those physicians who are trying to get out of are like, I just, I don’t want to do this anymore. Find the right technology partner and figure out what the right problem is to solve and go solve it. Right. And, and, and there’s never been a better time to integrate it into the HR and, and push that innovation and create a better world. That’s why, you know, my, my goal in all of this is to create a healthcare system and environment that will look better for my children and grandchildren than the one that I’m receiving. Right. And, and, and the reality is we’re all going to be patients one day, the state of our healthcare. Right. And especially from a technology standpoint, we’re all going to end up being cared for and treated by these systems.

So let’s go make them the very best that we can.

Bryce Barger

Well, Jordan, it was an absolute pleasure speaking with you. Thank you so much for sharing your insight on the healthcare technology and, and, and also AI Medica’s mission to kind of simplify healthcare. It’s, it’s, it’s so fantastic and refreshing to hear that about that.

I wish you continued success, of course, in driving positive change and patient outcomes and, and, and definitely healthcare efficiency. We, I can’t wait to see what AI Medica does next.

Jordan Ritchie

Thanks, Bryce. Thanks for having me on the show.

Bryce Barger

Yeah. Thank you so much. Bye.

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About the Guest

Author

Jordon Ritchie linkedin

Jordon Ritchie, the CEO of AImedica, is a biomedical data scientist and informaticist. With years of experience in the healthcare industry, Ritchie has a vision of seamlessly integrating evidence-based medicine with EHR systems. His primary goal is to drive better outcomes, reduce physicians’ burnout, and boost the profitability of health systems. His organization, AImedica, leverages automation technology for evidence-based medicine by using EHR data to achieve better clinical outcomes.

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