Funke Victory Alabi emerges as a pivotal figure in the intersection of technology and healthcare. With expertise in public health and biomedical informatics, Funke Alabi’s journey has led her to create Cohexa, an innovative AI-enabled dictation system for physicians. This interview offers a deep dive into her path, the evolution of Cohexa, and her vision for the future of healthcare technology.
Could you share with us your journey from public health to biomedical informatics?
My journey began with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Health in Nigeria, where I interned at the Lagos State Ministry of Health and at the Ikeja Local Government Secretariat. I spearheaded diverse projects for the Lagos State Government, focusing on health promotion and preventative initiatives. From organizing blood banks to health outreach for underserved communities, my work aimed at improving the overall health of the population. Engaging in seminars, conferences, and federal-level health advocacy further fueled my passion.
Curious about the potential of technological innovations in healthcare, I pursued further education in the United States. Enrolling in a Biomedical Informatics program, I gained insights into how technology transforms healthcare delivery.
Upon graduation, I decided to specialize in the application of information technology in healthcare documentation. Today, I am dedicated to enhancing healthcare through the integration of technological advancements, drawing from my background in public health, and Biomedical Informatics, I build Electronic Medical Record tools for patients, clinicians and hospital systems.
What inspired you to start Cohexa, and what challenges have you encountered while developing this AI-enabled dictation system for physicians?
Cohexa was born out of a concern for the well-being of healthcare professionals. I currently work as a Physicians’ systems optimizer and witnessing first-hand, the significant impact of documentation on physicians’ mental, financial, physical, and emotional health, I recognized the need for a solution. The challenges in developing Cohexa for physicians involve overcoming technical complexities, Research, dataset sourcing, ensuring accuracy in medical terminology, and addressing privacy and security concerns. The ultimate goal is to empower healthcare providers, allowing them to focus more on patient care and less on burdensome administrative tasks.
Can you describe how Cohexa’s technology integrates with current healthcare practices and the impact it aims to have on physician-patient interactions?
The goal of ‘Cohexa’ is to integrate into current healthcare practices by providing a natural way for physicians to capture patient interactions. This technology will allow for real-time transcription and documentation, reducing the need for manual note-taking during appointments. The impact is twofold: it enhances the accuracy and completeness of medical records, and it allows physicians to maintain better engagement with patients. With the reduction of administrative burden, this technology will someday transform physician-patient interactions, creating a more patient-centered approach and improving the overall quality of care.
In your experience, what are the key factors in successfully blending technology with healthcare, particularly in the realm of electronic medical records?
Blending technology with healthcare, particularly in electronic medical records (EMRs), requires firstly, a user-friendly design, interoperability, and a strong focus on data security and privacy. Specialized customization for different medical specialties, with comprehensive training and ongoing support, ensures effective adoption by healthcare professionals. The goal is to create intuitive interfaces, facilitate the exchange of information between healthcare entities, and establish trust in handling sensitive patient data.
Could you discuss a project or initiative that you are particularly proud of?
My key achievements revolve around providing daily support to clinicians, aiming to bring them joy and assistance. Ensuring their well-being translates to positive outcomes for patients and contributes to a happy, healthy community. My impact on the frontline of healthcare emphasizes the meaningful role of technology in improving patient care and overall community well-being.
What definite steps have you taken or take to develop yourself & grow your personal brand?
Apart from classroom and volunteer experiences, I’ve further developed my craft by earning certifications such as Project Management Professional from PMI, World Health Organization’s OpenWHO: Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence for Health, multiple EpicCare build certifications for building clinical applications, Biomedical Researcher certifications, and certifications in Generative AI for Healthcare, among others.
My dedication extends to STEM education, judging competitions to foster young talent. I am also a member of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society in both Colorado and the New England area where I participate in directing healthcare legislative, regulatory, and policy initiatives, aiming to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of patient care through the application of information technology and clinical management systems.
Could you share insights on how emerging technologies can be made more accessible and effective in healthcare settings?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) will improve health outcomes by significantly enhancing medical diagnosis, treatment, and healthcare delivery. These technologies offer the capability for rapid analysis of health data, precise diagnoses and timely interventions. Predictive models powered by AI contributes to the early detection of patterns, thereby assisting in disease prevention and the formulation of personalized treatment plans. It is important to prioritize privacy and security in the integration of these technologies into healthcare systems, ensuring their responsible and ethical use to safeguard patient data and confidentiality.
Interoperability is also important, the integration of technologies with existing healthcare systems facilitates data exchange. When a patient relocates to a new city, interoperability in healthcare ensures the secure transfer of their electronic health records (EHRs) to their new physician.
Are there any books or thought leaders that have significantly influenced your approach to business and healthcare?
Some influential books that drives my vision about Healthcare IT are:
The Innovator’s Prescription” by Clayton Christensen, Jerome Grossman, and Jason Hwang: This book applies disruptive innovation theory to the healthcare industry, providing insights on how to transform and improve healthcare delivery.
“Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande: Atul Gawande, a prominent surgeon and writer, explores the challenges of end-of-life care and advocates for a more compassionate and patient-centered approach.
“The Patient Will See You Now” by Eric Topol: Topol explores the impact of digital technology on healthcare and how patients can take a more active role in managing their health.
Asides from the above mentioned books, I do have my book published, titled ‘Confluence of Technology and Medicine: A Nexus Driving Innovations in Healthcare’; It traces the evolution of information technology in healthcare and its pivotal role. The book delves into AI Advancements in Medicine, highlighting the applications of artificial intelligence in healthcare. It is a very informative book, I recommend that you read it.
Finally, as we look ahead, what emerging trends or innovations in healthcare and technology are you most excited about, and how do you plan to align Cohexa’s strategies with these future developments?
Generative Multimodal Artificial Intelligence (GMAI) is an emergence in Healthcare IT that I am most excited about, it is changing healthcare by automating clinical documentation, including notes, discharge summaries, and pre-authorizations this is the same technology behind the development of Cohexa. In surgical operations, GMAI facilitates Augmented procedures, aiding in the identification of operative field elements. It can generate detailed CT scan reports, highlighting specific concerns or imaging abnormalities.
Beyond documentation, GMAI’s adaptability enhances medical decision-making, empowering patients to inquire about symptoms and data. This aids in understanding the progression of medical conditions. This approach contributes to an informed, efficient, and personalized healthcare experience for clinicians and patients alike.
Funke Victory Alabi’s journey from a public health enthusiast to a technology innovator in healthcare is not just inspiring but a testament to the transformative power of technology in healthcare. Her vision for Cohexa reflects a deep understanding of the challenges faced by healthcare professionals and a commitment to improving patient care through innovation. As we concluded our insightful conversation, it became clear that Funke Victory Alabi is not just building a product but is also shaping the future of healthcare technology. Her passion for improving healthcare delivery, combined with her innovative approach to leveraging AI, positions Cohexa to be a game-changer in the industry. Alabi’s story is a compelling reminder of the impact one individual can have on an entire sector, driving change and fostering a more efficient, patient-focused healthcare system.