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AMA Joins Org Targeting Patient Access to Specialist Care

The AMA's partnership with Human Dx will help drive patient access to specialty care by creating connections between specialty providers.

AMA partnered with Human Dx to drive patient access to specialty care.

Source: Thinkstock

By Sara Heath

- The AMA has joined forces with the Human Diagnosis Project (Human Dx), an organization which seeks to help expand patient access to specialist care by digitally connecting providers to other specialists.

Currently, 30 million patients are uninsured in the United States, the AMA press release states. Although the US hosts numerous safety net clinics and federally qualified health centers that meet the basic primary care needs for uninsured or underinsured patients, many go without critical specialty care.

High out-of-pocket costs for specialty care deter patients from seeking health interventions – from a cardiologist visit to a vital surgery – potentially leading to disastrous health outcomes.

When patients do not receive this care, they may eventually turn to emergency department care which is notoriously more expensive than preventive or chronic specialty care. Patients may also fall even more sick and require more extensive medical intervention along the way.

The Human Dx is a system of doctors seeking specialty consults for their medically underserved patients. Specialists may securely view medical information for patients in need of a consult and choose to advise the primary care provider on further steps. The digital system synthesizes all provider consults to help the user reach a diagnosis.

Currently, the network includes over 6,000 providers from 500 healthcare institutions. Network doctors hail from over 70 countries and span over 40 medical specialties.

These efforts are a part of the AMA’s goals to support patients in achieving better health at a lower cost, according to AMA President David O. Barbe, MD.

“We look forward to working with Human Dx as part of this important Alliance to help more uninsured and underinsured patients gain access to the specialty care they need,” Barbe said in a statement.

“The AMA is committed to improving the health of the nation and achieving better health outcomes for all Americans,” Barbe added. “Improving access to specialty care is an important step toward realizing that mission.”

The AMA is joined in this network by other healthcare societies, including the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the American Board of Internal Medicine, the American Board of Medical Specialties, the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved, the National Association of Community Health Centers, and the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice.

The Human Dx also collaborates with Harvard Medical School, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and University of California, San Francisco Medical Center.

This partnership is reportedly first-of-its-kind and helps providers deliver more accurate and effective care to patients who otherwise would go without, according to Sanjay Desai, MD, a Human Dx partner from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

“Human Dx is the first tool I have seen that begins to address this unmet need,” said Desai, who is also Director of the Osler Medical Training Program and Associate Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins. “It will allow us to measure clinical reasoning more accurately, objectively, and innovatively at scale. And it will help improve doctors’ clinical reasoning throughout their practice, which could affect countless lives.”

As healthcare continues to embrace more value-based care initiatives, it will be critical for industry experts to ensure patients have ready access to the type of care that they need. While primary care is the home base for most patients, access to specialty care can make a significant difference in acute care needs as well as chronic care management.

By ensuring patients have access to those service, healthcare professionals can ensure they are delivering high quality care before health issues escalate into a more costly and cumbersome issue by ensuring patients have access to necessary specialty services. Ultimately, this will achieving better and more valuable care.

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