For decades, cannabis education for medical professionals consisted of only biased and limited research. After the discovery of the endocannabinoid system in the early 90s, phytocannabinoid research increased exponentially around the world. Yet, in the United States, as a Schedule 1 substance, cannabis research comes with heavy red tape and immense restrictions.
Today, less than nine percent of medical schools in the US teach anything about cannabis. Thus, we are learning much of what we know about marijuana through anecdotal stories and international research. The fact is, according to a study out of the University of Washington, 90 percent of physicians don’t feel prepared to recommend medical marijuana. This lack of knowledge sharing not only leaves obvious gaps in physician understanding and acceptance, but it is pushing the US-based medical cannabis further behind in a growing global market.
Information Sharing Solution
Recognizing a desperate need for a professional, secure place where physicians can collaborate and share what they learn, James West created Arfinn Med, a free platform where medical professionals can store, share, and contribute their experiences and results with medical cannabis patients. While other data collection apps like Releaf App and eHave focus on collecting data from the patient, West’s vision for Arfinn Med provides a professional layer of data collection which resonates better with the medical industry.
Recalling his motivation for the project, West stated during an interview with CannabisTech, “Information regarding cannabis benefits was anecdotal and siloed. No one was connecting and sharing the success.”
“I was speaking to doctors who were having great success treating PTSD, but they weren’t connecting with their peers,” he continued. “Despite seeing a humongous upside to cannabis, physicians simply weren’t connecting with the experts, or they felt uncomfortable with it.”
As patients start to explore cannabis for the first time, they often look to their physicians for guidance. Yet, many doctors are hesitant due to a lack of formal, US-based research. So, West set out to create a way to incentivize physicians to do the research and share what they learn.
An EMR with Bigger Goals
By creating a HIPPA-compliant, encrypted, electronic medical records system designed specifically for tracking the clinical use of medical cannabis, Arfinn Med provides multiple benefits to physicians, instills confidence in consumers, and reduces the overall knowledge gap. West stated, “We currently have two types of physicians using the portal – experts, who have been operating in this field for a long time, and physicians who are just learning. We give them a way to communicate.”
While most EMR systems focus on billing, claims, and the like, Arfinn Med has much loftier goals. Free to the physician, Arfinn Med allows medical professionals to search the data and pull specific reports without any identifying patient information. For example, a physician could filter the data for a 55-year-old patient with Parkinson’s disease to find what approaches other physicians are taking with similar patients including most common delivery mode, efficacy, daily dosage, and even cannabinoid formulation or specific product.
Arfinn Med presents many benefits to the user including:
- Detailed patient data reports to aggregate treatments, dosages, cannabinoid profiles, efficacy and more.
- Free, HIPAA-compliant, electronic medical records services designed for medical cannabis.
- Increased patient engagement and monitoring.
- A national network of peers to collaborate with and share results.
Additionally, Arfinn Med offers an electronic dashboard for each practice which aggregates clinical data into one location for a snapshot of their patient analytics. Working like Google Analytics for a medical practice, physicians can quickly determine patient demographics like gender, age set, and ailment. “Allowing physicians to see this amazing snapshot of their own practice, let alone pull reports from the entire community, as well as, share their successes or failures is value-added,” West added.
“We are a collaborative community,” West said. All physicians using the system gain access to all data points. “Doctors operate in absolute certainty,” West stated. Although admitting there is an individualized component to cannabinoid medicine, West envisions Arfinn Med as a resource medical professionals can use to identify best trends, benchmark data, and see what their peers are doing in similar cases. As of the date of our interview, more than 100 physicians across the US signed up to access the system.
Regardless of the type of data collected, there’s no question data is a hot commodity in all aspects of the industry. Focusing on physician participation at the moment, Arfinn Med is free to physicians but stated they also plan to offer a scaled-down version of the data for patients researching for the benefit of their own health goals which will likely be supported by affiliate links and advertisements.
To learn more about Arfinn Med, or to take advantage of the free EMR system for your own medical practice visit ArfinnMed.com.