A CBS ’20 student and physician co-founders develop mobile app, avoMD, for physicians to improve patient care


Interview posted: March 25, 2020

avoMD, created by CBS ’20 student Laurence Coman, Columbia University Medical Center informatics fellow alumnus Dr. Joongheum Park, and Dr. Yair Saperstein, seek to make complicated medical knowledge more accessible at the point of care for doctors. They claim their software, available for mobile devices, will help improve patient outcomes and physician workflows by providing doctors with more efficient access to critical medical information at the point of care.

CBSACNY: What problem are you solving?
If clinicians are unsure of what to do or want to check the latest guidelines for a certain treatment (i.e., for coronavirus), they have historically canvassed bulky guideline PDFs, articles, and email updates to get to the right answer. This process is inefficient and stressful, especially if a patient is present, and leads to substandard patient care – in fact, only about one-half of patients in the US get the standard of care.

CBSACNY: How is avoMD different?
avoMD improves the process of knowledge retrieval by presenting doctors with the latest guidelines/protocols in highly usable formats,  essentially offering virtual consults. Rather than reading through pages and navigating between different sources to figure how to treat a patient, doctors using avoMD simply need to click a few buttons in our app to get the exact information needed for the patient at hand. The app’s content is curated and authored by a growing community of physicians and institutions.

CBSACNY: How does all this help with improving patient care?
The world’s leading experts can get together and establish best practices for a certain condition, but if these guidelines aren’t actually usable, then what’s the point? That’s where we come in – translating expert knowledge into clinical workflows by converting information into quick and easy formats, delivered via virtual consults. We believe increasing the accessibility and usability of guidelines will reduce medical errors - in fact, scientific literature shows a positive correlation between adherence to guidelines and reducing medical errors.

CBSACNY: Physicians can be reticent to adopt new clinical technology. How are you handling this?
With physicians on our team, we know first-hand that doctors do not want to be automated by computers. Our product is designed precisely with this concern in mind – avoMD is a supplement for physician decision-making, not a replacement for it. Our tool supports the continued education of physicians by providing links and references behind every recommendation/guideline snippet we deliver. Additionally, we believe that because the content is organized by the physicians themselves, the likelihood of adoption is higher (scientific research supports this as well).

CBSACNY: What does the next 12 months look like for avoMD ?
As we speak, we're converting the latest COVID-19 guidance from the CDC and other institutions in our app - we hope this content will better equip physicians on the frontlines of this crisis. Later this year, we’ll have some initial results from our collaboration with Samsung Medical Center (the second largest hospital in South Korea). We also anticipate announcing our licensing deal with a major tri-state area hospital with whom we've had serious discussions. 

On the product side, we began contracting with an offshore dev shop to improve our authoring tool and content generation engine.

Last, my physician co-founders and myself are dedicating ourselves full-time to avoMD starting this summer.

CBSACNY: Do you have any asks from the CBS community?
We’re raising a pre-seed round so if there is any interest in the CBS community, please reach out! Also, if anyone wants to network, help spread the word, or introduce us to physicians and hospital administrators, we would be grateful.

Feel free to shoot Laurence a note at lc@avomd.io

To see a demo, click here

Abbreviated bios of the founders

Laurence Coman
Previously private equity investor at Vector Capital
The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Joongheum Park, MD
Practicing board-certified internal medicine physician at Beth Israel Deaconess
Columbia University Medical Center
Informatics Fellow and board Member of National Association of Clinical Informatics Research/Other
Research on artificial intelligence and mobile health initiatives published and presented at national conferences hosted by AMIA, American College of Rheumatology, and HL7/FHIR

Yair Saperstein, MD, MPH
Inpatient Medicine Chief Resident at King’s County Hospital
Co-founder of two non-profit organizations
MPH from SUNY Downstate
MD from Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Valedictorian at Yeshiva College