Defining and Solving Unmet Medical Needs: A Clinical Perspective
In recent years, we have seen both a continuing acceleration in the reporting of new advances in health care and emerging advances of science, as well as the introduction of an increasing number of new technology-enabled innovations informed by artificial intelligence. The ability to keep up with the pace of change across the medical specialties and science has become increasingly difficult, and tools that provide clinical decision support at the point of care show great promise to support physicians and improve patient outcomes across the health care system. However, great opportunity also comes with risk and the possibility of causing harm if the new tools being developed for physicians and patients are not grounded in rigorous research and evidence and validated in an appropriate manner. Responsible innovation that embraces evidence and transparency is necessary in order for physicians and patients to trust the new tools being introduced into the health care system. The goal of providing great benefit can be reached if patient safety and quality of care are embraced by both innovators and health care providers.
Dr. Mira Bjelotomich Irons is the Chief Health and Science Officer; Group Vice President, Health and Science, at the American Medical Association (AMA), and in this role provides intellectual leadership for AMA initiatives at the interfaces of practice, science, evidence, policy, ethics, and technology. Dr. Irons is a board-certified physician in both Medical Genetics and Pediatrics and has an impressive breadth and depth of experience in academic medicine, clinical practice, medical professional leadership and scientific research. Prior to joining the AMA, she was the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at the American Board of Medical Specialties where she led core ABMS programs and staff that served to advance improved standards and methods for certification, continuing certification and lifelong assessment, as well as leading the ABMS International programs. Prior to coming to ABMS, Dr. Irons spent 30 years in academic medicine in Boston, initially at Tufts Medical Center and more recently at Boston Children’s Hospital where she oversaw clinical operations of the Division of Genetics and Metabolism, served as the residency director for Medical Genetics and fellowship director for the Harvard Laboratory Genetics programs, led a clinical research program, and served as an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, in addition to running a busy clinical practice. She has held numerous local and national roles in both undergraduate, graduate, and continuing medical education, including; service as the Chair of the ACGME Residency Review Committee for Medical Genetics; serving on the Boards of Directors of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education and the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics; and serving as the President of the Association of Professors of Human and Medical Genetics. She currently is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.