Envisioning A New Paradigm of Patient Care

by Dr. Roger Ng, MD, Cardiologist, Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, Seattle, WA


As a practicing clinical physician, I believe in the proposition that all patients, regardless of income, social status, race, ethnicity, or gender, are entitled to the best health care possible. When patients need care of any type, critical, lifesaving intervention or basic well-care, they should be able to receive the best that modern medical science can offer. Under our current patient care model, I do not think that is possible.


That is not always the case

There are countless barriers and obstacles – natural and artificial – that hinder the ability of physicians to deliver the level and quality of care their patients deserve. Regulations, processes, procedural requirements, EMR systems, business rules, standards of care, while all intended to help, in some ways they add to the web of complexity clinicians face. It is that complexity that hinders the path to consistent, equitable patient care.

Practitioner burn-out, frustration, and sheer exhaustion have exacerbated this problem. The rise of COVID-19 created an enormous, added caseload stress, creating a “patient care perfect storm”. It has resulted in a decreasing number of top-quality caregivers chasing an explosion of patient care needs.


The Answer Can Be Elusive

To arrive at a solution, first, we need to clearly understand the state of healthcare delivery. Plainly stated, it is overwhelmed for a variety of factors, notwithstanding SARS‑CoV‑2 and the resulting COVID-19.

Care, compassion, a love of medical science, a personal commitment to human healing, a passion for the wellbeing of fellow humans, are all part of the reasons most enter medicine. Physicians care about their patients but the hospital-centric, Electronic Health Records [EHR] systems are standing in their way.

The original concept of a standardized, portable set of health records was a powerful idea. As originally proposed and enacted, it was to be a means of improving, and in many ways, democratizing healthcare.

However, the result did not match the original, lofty goals. What has evolved over the years since EHRs were mandated, has resulted in unintended barriers to patient care. It has not given us the outcomes we had hoped for as practitioners. For many, it has resulted in siloed data, cumbersome processes, and redundant record input across various, disparate systems. That has led to disjointed, inconsistent interactions, medical errors, and physician burnouts.


A Doctor’s Work is Never Done

Physicians’ daily work is slow and can, at times, be tedious. In addition to patient-focused care, it consists of meticulous recordkeeping, methodical tracking, recording, and notating through countless, system-mandated steps that often run late into the night. This means physicians can see far fewer patients than is their daily capacity. Many report that the one main barrier for them is and cumbersome system workflow that unnecessarily takes up valuable patient care time.

Physicians and caregivers don’t need another diagnostic engine. While new diagnostic engines help advance research, they represent another disparate technology for physicians, which further contributes to physician burnout. Adding more won’t reduce any steps and it won’t save time or frustration. Physicians need something that can automate some of the redundant, rote processes that will make them think faster, and enable them to work smarter.

They need something to help them be more efficient and be more productive while enabling them to offer the highest level of care for their patients. They want something that can help them increase their capacity without sacrificing the quality of care in the process.

My belief is that any solution, any system or platform that is developed has a built-in bias perspective that guides its design and the resulting end-product. As the saying goes, “if your only tool is a hammer, every solution looks like a nail.” For our current state of technology systems within healthcare, what we have is a technology solution developed by engineers.


What If . . .

But what if it had been originally designed by a physician? What if it had been built from the patient care perspective rather than the code and design perspective?

That is what makes us and our approach so dramatically different. We are Doctors who code. And we are on the frontlines of patient care. That means that we see this from a far different perspective. We see the situation first-hand, daily, from the clinical practitioner’s perspective. And what we see is a growing problem in healthcare. Presently there is an increasing number of patients, combined with a persistently limited number of specialized, trained professionals that can care for and treat them.

Treatments from the most generic to the most advanced exist for even the most complex patients. But currently, the limiting factor to patient care is the barriers and needlessly time-intense EHR workflow processes physicians struggle with. That leaves patients unnecessarily waitlisted for months before obtaining the care that they need.

For those patients with regular physicians, records show that they continue to fall through the cracks. Far too often, ultimately, they end up in the emergency department for chronic conditions that, had they been addressed sooner, would not have been necessary. This is a continually increasing situation and one that has a significant impact on patient care outcomes.

If we can effectively address this, we would have an opportunity to reduce unnecessary suffering and needless deaths and substantially improve patient outcomes. ANHK Health Tech’s solution is addressing this head-on with a patient-first approach designed by physicians, for physicians.

With our platform, we are harnessing the power of AI in conjunction with innovative supervised machine learning technology. Then we apply a federated machine learning approach to effectively solve this issue.


Simplify Workflows, Shorten Processes, Automate Redundant Data Entry

Since the ANHK Health Tech platform has been designed by physicians, it approaches the technology from a different perspective. By taking a patient-care-first approach to our development, we engineered our platform to enable simple, smart workflows to collect, categorize and analyze patient data.

It intuitively gathers data such as vitals and lab results, by continuously logging practitioner interactions with the patient and through direct patient input. It simplifies the workflow and does this as the physician conducts their regular patient care routine.


Roger Ng, MD, is a board-certified cardiologist with deep experience and extensive training in vascular interpretation, echocardiography, nuclear cardiology, cardiac computed tomography, and diagnostic cardiac catheterization. His focus is on combining state-of-the-art medical and interventional therapy in a highly personalized way, tailored to the needs of each patient.

Dr. Ng has a uniquely background, having trained across multiple, world-class clinical programs. These have included Johns Hopkins and the National Institutes of Health.
He is presently a member of the American Society of Echocardiography, the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology, the Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography, and the American College of Cardiology, among others.

In addition, Dr, Ng is a recognize AI developer and Machine Learning expert. He has been a featured speaker on those topics at a number of prestigious events and is regularly invited to participate in expert AI panel discussions, including AHA21, Scientific Sessions. Today, he is an acknowledged leader in applied Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in medicine.

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