PCPs: AI Tool Helps to Keep Patients Healthier


COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Most of us think of our primary care physician as the person who spearheads our health care. But think about the other times you’re in front of another doctor, maybe at a specialist’s visit for your knee or back, or even an unexpected hospital stay. Sometimes, it takes days, weeks, or longer before your PCP gets vital health information. Now, there’s a new tool that gives PCPs the information they need to help keep patients healthy.

How often do you see your PCP? For most of us, it’s a once-a-year wellness check.

Family physician at Central Ohio Primary Care, Dr. Kristin Oaks, says “Primary care physicians need to be the quarterback of the team, and they can’t be the quarterback of the team if they don’t have the data.”

(Read Full Interview)

For years, doctors have been able to monitor a patient’s healthcare progress through electronic health records. Now, a new technology program called Physician Insights uses artificial intelligence to track a patient’s health outside of their exam room.

The Insights tool, created by Agilon Health, measures not only how often PCPs are doing wellness visits, but how often they check in with chronically ill patients, note the rates of recommended cancer screenings, and follow up with patients on post-hospitalization visits.

It’s important information to have at a doctor’s fingertips.

Consider this, as many as 14 percent of all patients who are hospitalized are re-admitted within 30 days, at an average readmission cost of over $15,000.

“But there’s very good data to suggest that patients that are high risk for readmission will benefit from getting into the office in a timely fashion, within several days,” Preferred Primary Care Physicians of Pittsburgh doctor, Dr. Lou CIvitarese, explains.

This is technology that helps primary care physicians track the best and healthiest outcomes, especially for their senior patients.

The Insights program has been adopted by more than a dozen community health practices across the country. Insight can also be used as a teaching tool to coach physicians, since it provides feedback on how PCPs are meeting patient care standards.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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TOPIC:  AI Tool Helps PCPs Keep Patients Healthier

REPORT:       MB #5059

BACKGROUND: Primary care physicians (PCPs) are generalists who see adult patients for common ailments including respiratory infections, headaches, back pain, and urinary infections. They also manage chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, anxiety, and depression. In addition, PCPs have expertise in managing multiple treatments, medications, and the interactions between them. They can address the entire person, considering their values, beliefs, and preferences. In 2010, there were approximately 209,000 practicing primary care physicians in the United States, and in 2010, the United States invested $250 million from the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund in primary care professional training.

(Sources: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/why-do-you-need-a-primary-care-physician-2019081917527


DIAGNOSING: Primary care is the routine health care and treatment of general ailments that promote a patient’s wellbeing. This type of generalized medicine ensures that people are on the right track to having healthy, high-quality lives. Primary care is your first line of defense against illness, chronic conditions, and injury. A primary care physician can assist you uniquely because they are able to study your medical history, develop a trusted rapport, and consider your needs going forward. For example, if you have had little success with certain medicine for acid reflux, they may be better able to suggest lifestyle changes, like dietary restrictions or change in sleeping habits since they know you and your complete health picture. Visiting an Urgent Care for this issue may simply result in the prescription of another medication or an over-the-counter symptom suppressant.

(Source: https://ucfhealth.com/our-services/primary-care/the-importance-of-primary-care/#:~:text=Primary%20care%20is%20the%20routine,%2C%20chronic%20conditions%2C%20and%20injury.)

NEW TECHNOLOGY: Significantly more physicians are using emerging health technology in their clinical practice than they were just three years ago, according to a new American Medical Association (AMA) survey. The largest growth among digital health tools was the use of televisits/virtual visits, the survey found. Physician adoption doubled from 14% in 2016 to 28% in 2019, with doctors using audio/video connections to see patients remotely. “The rise of the digital-native physician will have a profound impact on healthcare and patient outcomes and will place digital health technologies under pressure to perform according to higher expectations,” Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, M.D., the AMA’s board chair, said in an announcement about the survey.

(Source: https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/practices/technology-changing-way-doctors-practice-largest-increases-telehealth-visits-and-remote)


Lisa Stafford


If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com

Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Kristin Oaks, DO, a family physician and Lou Civitarese, DO

Read the entire Q&A