Why Google and Amazon — and not startups — have 'made it into the clinic'

To get artificial intelligence to patients faster, health systems could standardize their procurement processes and the government could clarify the regulations for the technology, researchers from University of Miami School of Medicine and New York City-based Weill Cornell Medicine say.

"While some AI technologies have made it into the clinic, most of these have come from large conglomerates, like Google or Amazon," said Azizi Seixas, PhD, a study senior author and interim chair of informatics and health data science at University of Miami School of Medicine, in a May 19 university news release.

Health systems each have their own procurement procedures, a challenge for AI and digital health startups to navigate, according to the study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. So the companies often give up on hospitals and instead pitch directly to consumers and employers.

Startups also have difficulty affording randomized clinical trials, while the FDA could better differentiate between AI, digital health and medical devices for its regulatory approvals, the researchers said. They recommend academic health systems step up to help in both areas.

"Tech came into healthcare thinking they were going to change how we do things, but many of them failed because they're just not wired to care for patients," Dr. Seixas stated. "But that is exactly our wheelhouse."

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