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In a recent episode of the NerdMDs Podcast, Dr. Adam Carewe sat down with a powerhouse duo from Regard: Eli Ben-Joseph, the Regard’s Co-Founder and CEO, and Dr. Francisco Alvarez, Regard’s VP of Clinical Operations. The discussion dove into the backstories for both Ben-Joseph and Dr. Alvarez, the innovative world of Regard with user stories, and what’s on the horizon for the Regard team. 


Regardian Backstories

Eli Ben-Joseph, co-founder and CEO of Regard, started his path towards medicine but eventually switched to bioengineering at MIT. Witnessing physician burnout during volunteer work at Mass General, he questioned the drastic change from his grandfather’s generation who seemed to enjoy their medical careers. This, along with his co-founder Nate’s similar experience, led them to explore the reason behind physician dissatisfaction.

Their investigation revealed the paradox of a data-rich environment (electronic medical records) that left doctors feeling information-poor due to overwhelming data volume. Recognizing the limitations of EMRs for clinical workflows, Eli envisioned a technology layer to bridge the gap. This aligned perfectly with Dr. Alvarez’s passion for leveraging data in healthcare, leading him to meet Regard during his residency and later on join the team full-time.

Francisco Alvarez, a physician by background, initially focused on global health policy and economics. He realized the importance of data in understanding real-world healthcare issues. Witnessing the lack of data infrastructure in developing countries like Bolivia, he became passionate about improving data collection and utilization in healthcare. This experience led him to pursue a residency in internal medicine and eventually connect with Regard where he could focus on leveraging data for better patient care in a data-rich but information-poor environment.


Regard Origin Story 

Ben-Joseph shared that the inspiration for Regard came from observing a physician he was shadowing repeatedly writing similar notes. He, with a software engineering background, saw an opportunity for automation. Ben-Joseph learned that a large portion of medicine relies on data and algorithms. This sparked the idea of an AI assistant that acts like a “smart intern,” scanning data, suggesting diagnoses, and generating the groundwork for assessments and plans. This would free up valuable physician time while leveraging vast amounts of data to improve care.


Regard in Action: Safety Saves 

Dr. Alvarez dove into customer stories that highlighted not only the importance of data, but also how instrumental Regard’s product is in the hospital setting. The first customer story focused on a situation with a patient that received a coronary stent placement and was initially treated by a doctor who didn’t use Regard. Standard EMR practices involved copying previous notes and continuing medications. However, when a new doctor using Regard took over the case, the system identified a crucial detail – the blood thinner Plavix had been discontinued. This potentially life-threatening omission might have gone unnoticed without Regard’s easy access to critical information. While a thorough review of traditional records might have revealed the issue eventually, Regard’s ability to present vital details upfront can significantly improve care efficiency and potentially save lives.

In the second scenario Dr. Alvarez shared, a patient was admitted to the hospital with a stroke that was initially diagnosed as cryptogenic, meaning the cause was unknown. However, upon using Regard, the doctor discovered a well-documented history of atrial fibrillation (AFib) from over a year ago. Further investigation through the system revealed the patient had previously been on anticoagulation medication to prevent stroke, but it had been discontinued. This crucial information, buried in past notes, could have been easily missed due to time constraints and busy schedules. Regard’s ability to surface such vital details helps to ensure a higher “floor” for patient care, ultimately leading to better data-driven decisions and improved outcomes.


How Regard Stands Out in the Market Today 

Regard’s unique strength lies in its ability to bridge the data gap. Unlike many healthcare technology companies that generate more information, Regard helps users make sense of the data already available. This resonates with partners in the inpatient setting, where data is particularly rich.

The core design prioritizes physicians by presenting data in a clear and actionable format (like notes). This not only saves doctors time but also benefits the administrative side by aiding CDI efforts and improving revenue capture for hospitals without burdening physicians with extra work. This creates a win-win situation with a measurable financial benefit for hospitals while also improving patient care through physician empowerment.


Looking to the Future for Regard

Regard’s vision extends beyond the inpatient setting. The team is actively looking to expand into outpatient clinics and emergency rooms. This will allow them to support a wider range of healthcare providers. Additionally, Regard is developing deeper physician support features. Imagine a system that guides doctors through creating care plans based on established medical protocols.

On the technology front, Regard is embracing the power of Large Language Models (LLMs). This will create a more interactive experience for physicians. They’ll be able to interact with Max, Regard’s AI clinical assistant currently in development, to perform tasks like requesting draft discharge notes or retrieving a patient’s recent diagnostic history. Essentially, Regard is continuing to push the boundaries of technology to empower doctors and improve the quality of healthcare for everyone.


You can listen on the NerdMDs Podcast Series website or on all major podcast platforms.