The Gap From Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Bedside: First Study to Analyze Perspectives of Early-Stage Digital Health and AI Startups on the Barriers to Technology Integration in Clinical Practice

Source: Image created by the authors
Copyright: Dr. Iredia Olaye
License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY)

A new study was published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research on April 27, 2023, titled “The Gap Between AI and Bedside: Participatory Workshop on the Barriers to the Integration, Translation, and Adoption of Digital Health Care and AI Startup Technology Into Clinical Practice.”

The study, conducted by a team of researchers led by Dr Iredia M Olaye of Weill Cornell Medicine, CEO of Covered By Group (a future technology innovation, investment, and advisory firm), aimed to describe the barriers to integrating and adopting digital health and AI technologies in clinical practice and health care systems by conducting a stakeholder focus group workshop with leaders of companies having experience selling into clinical practice. The group had representation from early-stage digital health and health care AI entrepreneurs or executives, entrepreneurs-turned-venture capitalists, and physicians who are also digital health entrepreneurs.

To our knowledge, this is the first peer-reviewed paper that systematically studied the integration of AI and digital healthcare technologies from the vantage point of early-stage stage companies. We also provide an overview and detailed background on early-stage digital health and healthcare artificial intelligence startup funding, regulation, and integration into clinical practice to improve research on this topic in literature. [Iredia Olaye, PhD, first author of the study]

The study identified 4 categories of barriers: the lack of knowledge of technology procurement protocols and best practices for health care systems, challenges within these procurement processes, disadvantages of early-stage digital health companies compared to large technology conglomerates, and demanding regulatory and validation requirements.

Early-stage startup companies, which produce much of the innovation, are hardly in the mix, and we wanted to understand the barriers they face and how we might help overcome them. [Azizi Seixas, PhD, interim chair of the Department of Informatics and Health Data Science, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; senior author]

There were also surprising revelations in the study, such as the role of early-stage digital health startup financing from venture capital firms and startup-friendly banks in business model selection. To remain attractive to investors, entrepreneurs are shifting from health care systems to direct-to-consumer and direct-to-employer business models owing to the barriers highlighted in the study.

For truly advanced integrated patient care, digital health and AI must be utilized in patient care. With challenges like healthcare workforce shortages, increasing costs, and inefficiency plaguing the industry, clinical care would benefit from the recent global excitement of AI and the resulting mobilization of capital and talent. We will fully realize the potential when barriers to scale and integration are addressed. [Dr Olaye]

There is a critical need for investors, payers, health care organizations, regulatory boards, and technology stakeholders to collaborate on the best processes, investment strategies, and allocations to improve digital health care technology integration into clinical practice.

The study also includes a detailed roadmap and recommendations to mitigate the highlighted barriers to ensure that providers and patients are getting access to the technology they need in clinical practice. The findings of this study provide the rationale for future research on (1) technology integration into clinical care focusing on patient outcomes and cost reduction, and (2) alternative investment vehicles to fill the gap in support and funding available for the early development and integration of clinically focused digital health and AI technologies.


If citing the original research article, please cite as follows:

Olaye IM, Seixas, AA. The Gap Between AI and Bedside: Participatory Workshop on the Barriers to the Integration, Translation, and Adoption of Digital Health Care and AI Startup Technology Into Clinical Practice

J Med Internet Res 2023;25:e32962

doi: 10.2196/32962

About Covered By Group

Covered By Group is a future technology innovation, investment, and advisory firm. We empower partners exploring digital innovation, sustainable transitions, and global expansions. Covered By Health, a subsidiary of Covered By Group, investigates and evaluates AI and digital health care solutions. We help clients assess risks and opportunities, cocreate and embrace new technologies, evaluate existing investment opportunities, and integrate offerings into existing health infrastructures.

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