The American Medical Association in February 2015 committed to be a tenant in a new healthcare technology incubator in Chicago, called MATTER. Now, AMA’s studio at the site is open for business.

The studio features brand new technology donated by existing vendors to give a taste of the future while entrepreneurs develop their products. Included is an exam table that virtually collects some vital signs data when a patient lies down, 3D imaging systems with holographic displays, next-generation audio-visual technology, an automated referral process, and several next-generation medical devices.

The exam table and equipment from Midmark make it easier for physicians to integrate patient information into their office workflow, according to an AMA explanation. “The table includes a digital scale designed to weigh patients quickly, efficiently and discreetly. The handheld controls are designed to run the scale functions (including BMI calculation) with the push of a button and send data to the EHR. Since patients remain positioned on the exam table, it streamlines the workflow, saves time, and allows the physician to spend more time caring for patients.” 

MATTER is a test bed for innovation and interaction with physicians and builders of technology. AMA joined to tap into the start-ups to test new models of healthcare delivery in technology-enabled physician offices of the future. These could include telehealth, cloud computing, how physicians interact with the overall healthcare system and other models that don’t fit traditional settings.

Also See: Truman Medical, Cerner Launch ‘Living Lab’ for Innovation

As startups joined Matter and began developing new technologies or improvements to existing ones, AMA also was there to bring them a reality test on the ground. About 200 physicians visited Matter or otherwise offered feedback during the year, engaging with entrepreneurs and explaining their needs, says AMA spokesperson Robert Mills.

Some of the forthcoming innovations that compelled AMA to play a role in bringing to fruition include optimizing patient-physician interactions, optimizing extraction of organized data from health records systems to match clinical data with algorithms focusing on certain diseases on a single screen, improving workflows and preventive care.

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