Medscape at 25: Recognizing Medicine's Rising Stars

Becky Lang


December 07, 2020

Brent Sugimoto, MD, MPH, is the founder and chief medical officer at Decoded Health, an organization that develops artificial intelligence to increase healthcare efficiency and effectiveness. He is an immediate past member of the board of directors for the American Academy of Family Physicians, and is a member of the California attorney general's Trauma-Informed Care Implementation Task Force.

Brent Sugimoto, MD, MPH, proposes three questions for establishing a basic level of quality primary care: "How well does your doctor know you? What's your continuity of care? And is that care personalized?"

Since completing his residency in 2013 in a University of California, San Francisco–affiliated medical center, he's focused on making sure patients receive equitable access to care.

His work started with treating young people diagnosed with HIV and later expanded to studying childhood trauma and the effects of adverse experiences — which drive chronic disease, mental health disorders and health disparities. He is a member of the California attorney general's Trauma-Informed Care Implementation Task Force.

In 2019, Sugimoto founded Decoded Health, a company focused on broadening patient access to primary care providers with the help of AI technology. Sugimoto and his 10-person team are using deep learning and language processing to create an automated processing platform. It automates such things as medication refills and fielding emails, so that physicians can concentrate on tasks that need their expertise, Sugimoto says.

"By doing that, we're really helping doctors manage a larger number of patients that’s also sustainable," Sugimoto says, "and that will increase patient access to primary care."

Digital access to care has started to increase out of necessity during the pandemic. For example, patients can use an app to reach physicians' offices and get answers quickly.

"Now care doesn't have to happen within the four walls of a clinic," he says. "It's brought to the patient, which is powerful. That will really have patients engage in their own healthcare."

With a projected future shortage of thousands of primary care doctors, and ongoing physician burnout, Sugimoto sees his company’s current offerings as just their first stage.

"My vision is that we use this to bridge the gap between what we have now, where most patients wait 2-3 weeks to see a doctor...and everyone having their own primary care doctor to rely on whenever they need it," Sugimoto says.

As part of Medscape's celebration of our 25th anniversary this year, we're recognizing 25 young physicians who are rising stars in medicine, poised to become future leaders of their fields. View the full list here.


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