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Cortina Health: Utilizing A.I. to Restore the Care in Healthcare
Reid Maclellan, M.D., Founder and CEO, Cortina Health Much like his company Cortina Health, Dr. Reid Maclellan, CEO, is the perfect blend of old-world charm meets modern tech mogul. Exposed brick walls and hardwood floor enclose his office to ceiling windows (typical of the industrial architecture that comprises the once manufacturing turned entrepreneurial capital city of Chattanooga). He sits surrounded by intricate, masculine, 19th-century dark walnut and leather furniture. Being in his office almost feels like being dropped in the middle of a bygone era with hints of American Old West, collectible Scottish relics, and antique homages to his alma mater, Harvard University. Though built in 1885, his office building sits next to a sign that reads "The Innovation District." Dr. Maclellan himself fits perfectly in the setting, a spry young man with an old soul.
He is animated and passionate, yet also poised and composed, appropriately born in the narrow cusp between the Gen-X and Millennial generations—he is used to being a bit of a bridge. To the right of his elegant desk sits a centuries-old alchemy set and stethoscope, a nod to simpler times when the doctor-patient relationship was what mattered most. He is clearing away the complications and clutter of the modern world to return to what once was by utilizing a highly vetted team of software engineers and data scientists as well as the most advanced forms of technology available.
An Entrepreneur Spirit to "Commercialize Medicine."
Dr. Maclellan initially became a surgeon to answer a vocational call to serve others. He completed his clinical and research fellowships in the Department of Plastic Surgery at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital. Soon after that, he realized he could either care for one patient at a time as a full-time surgeon or care for an exponentially more significant number of patients if he became a surgeon-scientist. The post-doctoral Master's of Medical Science degree he received through a joint program at Harvard's Schools of Medicine, Public Health, and Business instilled in him an entrepreneur spirit to "commercialize medicine."
He noticed a tremendous problem in the medical setting that did not have an adequate solution, and that problem continues to grow. Now more than ever, America is losing its doctors at an alarming rate. Physicians are burnt out, and although there are many reasons for this problem, one of the primary reasons is that physicians feel they are no longer practicing the art of medicine. They do not have adequate time to provide appropriate patient care and perform all of the clerical duties required in today's hospitals. To solve this problem and deliver a solution to both the patient and physician, Dr. Maclellan realized his skills were far more useful in the start-up world, and thus began the journey of creating Cortina Health, a healthcare technology company that leverages A.I. to deliver a superior quality of care. Every technology company boasts that they utilize A.I. in their products; however, most of these algorithms are off-the-shelf software. Dr. Maclellan knew ifCortina Health was going to use A.I. to restore the care in healthcare, it would need to create proprietary A.I. algorithms from the beginning. He recruited his long-time IBM veteran friend Paul Roossin to become Cortina Health's Chief Technology Officer to accomplish this goal. Mr. Roossin was an original member of IBM's TJ Watson Research Center team, where he created the world's most accurate machine translation system, used for translating French texts into English. The statistical and information-theoretical techniques they pioneered have become the methods used by all modern translation software. At IBM Research, Mr. Roossin also designed, produced, and marketed MedSpeak Radiology, the first commercially available continuous extensive vocabulary speech recognition system. This system and its progeny are currently used to automatically transcribe nearly all radiology reports in the U.S. Upon leaving IBM, Mr. Roossin has continued to serve in leadership roles for several technology start-ups. Before joining Cortina Health, he was the Science Director of Nanotronics Imaging, Inc.; a Founders Fund backed New York-based microscopy, computer vision, A.I., and robotics company that designs and delivers automated inspection and analysis solutions to the semiconductor, pharmaceutical, and materials industries.
Cortina Health's vision is simple: to restore the care in healthcare and improve patients and physicians' quality of life, beginning with the body's largest organ, our skin
The telemedicine Trend in a Post-COVID World
When Dr. Maclellan and Mr. Roossin were asked what they believe will be the most significant healthcare trend in 2021, they unequivocally answered the advent of telemedicine. Telemedicine was sparsely utilized in the U.S. before the COVID-19 pandemic; however, its use exploded after the onset of the pandemic and has continued throughout 2020. Converting from an in-person clinic visit to a virtual visit during a pandemic makes complete sense. It reduces the risk of being exposed to the coronavirus for the patient, the physician, and the physicians' staff. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recognized the need for telemedicine to be available throughout the country, including in the patient's home; therefore, they temporarily waived most Medicare payment requirements to enable telehealth services. Nearly all states followed suit with their Medicaid programs, and most commercial insurers also expanded their telehealth benefits. Analysts forecast that there will be more than 1 billion telehealth visits by the end of 2020.
Will the telemedicine trend last in a post-COVID world? The short answer is a definite YES. Nationally recognized consulting group McKinsey and Co. estimates that approximately 20% of all Medicare, Medicaid, and Commercial insurer outpatient visits will be virtualized in the near future. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee (BCBST), headquartered up the street from Cortina Health's offices in Chattanooga, has already embraced the future. Dr. Maclellan stated he was thrilled that BCBST became the first major insurer to offer coverage of virtual visits with in-network providers permanently. He believes other insurers will follow BCBST's bold action because their members will demand it.
An A.I. Integrated HIPAA Compliant Cloud-based Virtual Clinic Room
Because telemedicine was so underutilized before the pandemic, there were not many software solutions available for the physician to choose from, and almost none offered an A.I. component. The options that were offered either forced the physician to use a new practice management software system that included telemedicine, or required the physician and patient to download an app where both parties had to create a unique username and password even though the patient may only need to use the app once. Also, many of these platforms only offered a one-on-one video option for the patient and doctor. Cortina Health attempted to address each of these pain points by creating "Cortina," an A.I. integrated HIPAA compliant cloud-based virtual clinic room.
Physicians can use Cortina alongside their current practice management and electronic health records systems. Cortina's HIPAA compliant virtual exam room is web-based, so neither the physician nor the patient ever has to download a new app. As necessary as it sounds, it is as easy as 1, 2, 3. The physician enters the patient's first and last name along with his/her email address into the Cortina physician portal. A random 256-bit encrypted URL is generated and delivered to both parties. Once they each click the link to enter the room, the physician "locks" the room to begin the virtual visit. Both the patient and the physician can include an additional individual in the visit. Loved ones can now virtually sit next to a patient whenever they cannot physically sit beside the patient.
Physicians can ask a staff member who may be in the next room or even a colleague across the country to join the visit.
"By coupling Cortina Health's patent-pending next-generation A.I. technology with its national network of dermatologists and mail-order pharmacy, Cortina Health has created an A.I. enabled end-to-end skincare solution that delivers personalized care to the patient more efficiently and effectively"
Cortina's proprietary natural language understanding technology transcribes the entire patient-doctor experience. The physician no longer has to feel like a data clerk merely entering information into a computer. Instead, he/she can now focus entirely on the patient, knowing that all documentation will be completed on the physician's behalf. Cortina's A.I. securely delivers the physician's note to the physician once the visit is finished. To help combat the second wave of the COVID pandemic, Cortina Health is currently offering Cortina for free to all medical professionals throughout 2021.
Restoring Healthcare by Creating an A.I. Enabled End-To-End Skincare Solution
Cortina Health's vision is simple: to restore the care in healthcare and improve patients and physicians' quality of life, beginning with the body's largest organ, our skin. To accomplish this goal, Cortina Healthaccompanies the patient through his/her entire skincare journey. They have created "Spot."- a patient-facing mobile application that is powered by Cortina Health's proprietary patent-pending A.I. algorithms—using pattern recognition and natural language understanding along with oversight from a board-certified dermatologist, Spot. is your personalized virtual dermatologist. The patient takes multiple images of the diseased skin and answers the same type of questions typically asked in a dermatologist's office. Once the case is submitted, Cortina Health's A.I. algorithms diagnose the patient's skin condition and provide a customized treatment plan tailored to the skin disease's severity. All of the patient's information and the A.I.'s decisions are reviewed and signed off by one of Cortina Medical Group's board-certified dermatologists.
Delivering Personalized Care to the Patient
If a prescription or over-the-counter medication is recommended, the patient has the option of having Cortina Health's mail-order pharmacy CortinaRx deliver the medications directly to his/her doorstep. The dermatologist is also available to the patient whenever needed. Because the medical journey does not stop when the treatment plan has been delivered, Spot. also checks on the patient and tracks the progress of the problematic skin concern over time to confirm the patient's personalized treatment plan is working appropriately. Although Dr. Maclellan certainly believes virtual care is the wave of the future, he recognizes there are times that patients need to be treated in person. Whenever Spot. believes a dermatologist should examine the patient in person, it automatically refers the patient to a local dermatologist. By coupling Cortina Health's patent-pending next-generation A.I. technology with its national network of dermatologists and mail-order pharmacy, Cortina Health has created an A.I. enabled end-to-end skincare solution that delivers personalized care to the patient more efficiently and effectively.
Spot. will be available to the public in Spring of 2021. Dermatologists interested in joining Cortina Medical Group's telehealth team or joining Cortina Health's referral network for in-person visits can learn more at www.CortinaHealth.com.