Clinical Informatics: A Novel Technology for Diagnostic Capability, Provider Education


VisualDx is a platform that can provide clinicians with assistive technology and burgeoning providers with patient education.

In developing countries there are number of barriers to giving patients adequate clinical care. Treatment challenges include a lack of infrastructure, limited therapies, and diagnostics combined with people living in remote geographic areas where zoonotic and vector-borne, neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) exist.

Although these countries have several limitations, another variable may help in leveling the playing field: a novel technology platform called clinical informatics.

Clinical informatics is a concept in which technology assists clinicians in limited practice settings. “It is the use of information as decisions are made in medicine—to bring information to computer sources whether it be the smart phone, laptop, or desktop computer—that you are using information in context of the question in the exam room,” Art Papier, MD, cofounder and CEO VisualDx stated.

Within the realm of clinical informatics, Papier’s company has developed its VisualDx, a clinical decision support platform, which can be utilized in developing countries as well as here in the United States. Papier says it is a point-of-care system to help clinicians in diagnosis and treatment. Specifically, the platform contains clinical information, medical reference images, and real-time reporting, all of which are critical for patient care and public health response.

Back in January, VisualDx was awarded a second Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant to develop diagnostic tools for surveillance, detection, and triage of rare infectious diseases in India and Nigeria.

VisualDx has also developed a partnership with the state of Vermont, where they launched the clinician support initiative by utilizing this assistive technology to help healthcare professionals respond to emergent infectious disease outbreaks, like mpox and COVID-19. Vermont is offering all clinicians in the state free access to VisualDx’s diagnostic support platform, due to the challenge of identifying and treating rare diseases and amid ongoing staffing and burnout issues.

A Teaching Tool
VisualDx has a diagnostic clinical decision support system that has become a medical professional resource at more than 50% of US medical schools and more than 2300 hospitals and clinics worldwide. VisualDx combines problem oriented clinical search with a curated medical image library, plus medical knowledge from experts and sophisticated machine learning algorithms to help with differential diagnosis, variation, treatment, and patient communication.

Ultimately, Papier sees this technology as complementary and not competitive for clinicians.

“The brain plus the computer is more powerful than the brain alone—that’s really what we are talking about…augmenting decisions,” Papier said. “We are not talking about man vs machine and computers are going to completely replace humans.”

Contagion spoke to Papier who offered further insights into the clinical capabilities of VisualDx platform, plans for the Gates grant, and how it is being used in medical schools in the United States.

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