Tania Martin-Mercado, PhD: Bringing Artificial Intelligence and Precision Medicine to Point-Of-Care Diagnostics Systems

Tania Martin-Mercado

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Powered by the application of information technology and computing disciplines, Health Informatics is one of the fastest growing segments of information technology and computer science. The segment focuses on solving the problems in the field of healthcare. New healthcare concepts are rising with the need to reduce cost and increase efficiency within the healthcare sectors. Such developments create the need for data collection, advanced testing, and analysis.

Headquartered in North Texas, Phronetik is clearing the cloudy skies in the healthcare industry. They are advancing precision medicine by leveraging biotechnology, bioinformatics, and artificial intelligence to improve diagnosis, treatment, monitoring, and impacting scientific research with actionable insights.

Mirror Review talks with Tania Martin-Mercado, PhD, the President and CEO of Phronetik. Tania always fascinated about the latest technology trends. She completed several degrees and certifications in IT, healthcare and biotechnology. Following are the specific answers by Tania, which expressed her views towards the technological advancements in the healthcare informatics industry and the Phronetik’s contribution towards it.

What is the present day scenario of the healthcare industry? To what extent, does the healthcare sector define a nation’s progress and economy?

Now-a-days, clinicians are overburdened with keeping the electronic health record up-to-date and adhering to compliance and regulatory requirements while delivering quality care. Healthcare in this country needs to be changed because medical mistakes continue to result in patient deaths, and healthcare costs are nearly bankrupting the country. Lack of precision is resulting in lower care quality and higher medical error rates. In 2016, an NBC News report stated that if medical errors were considered a cause of death, it would be the third largest killer after cancer and heart disease.

Despite being one of the most technologically advanced nations, Americans pay much more for healthcare than people in other developed countries. According to a recent article from The Motley Fool, healthcare spending is 17.9% of the GDP and is expected to increase to nearly 20% by 2020. On the other hand, companies like Phronetik and others are needed now more than ever to make US healthcare effective, affordable and available to all.

Tell us about your company and its unique range of services. In the modern era of technology, how has Phronetik adapted to those changes in its working ecosystem?

Our company’s unique delivery of scientific research, clinical trial support, vaccine research support, and expertise in computational chemistry, biology, cheminformatics, and bioinformatics helps to improve diagnosis, treatment, monitoring, and positively affect the quality of care.

Advancements in biomarker discovery, individualized treatment, and precision medicine techniques offer the promise of faster and more accurate patient care. This landscape is rapidly changing and Phronetik’s genomic, sequencing, and technology services help guide everyday medical decisions and contribute to scientific research.

Our proprietary software, iConcordia™, is under development and I am excited to work with such a great group of people and partners to create something innovative that could genuinely transform healthcare delivery.

Our readers would like to know about your personal journey. What attracted you to start a venture in the healthcare sector?

Because of my personal experiences, unanswered questions, and overall curiosity, I decided to start Phronetik and become a part of the solution. I realized every person I know that experienced any type of serious healthcare issue or had a loved one experience healthcare issues, had many of the same frustrations and questions I did.

I have always been attracted to technology. I grew up with technology in my home because both of my parents worked in the IT industry. Healthcare has historically been one of the slowest industries to adopt technology, which I saw—and still see—as an opportunity to significantly impact healthcare delivery for the benefit of many.

As a Leader of a prominent healthcare company, what role do you play in its operations and growth? How do you tackle the professional crisis?

Like most small business owners, I do a little of everything – from defining and executing the vision and business development, to creating and implementing new technologies, and establishing long-term partnerships. I constantly stay apprised of innovations and growth in the healthcare and life science industries in the US and internationally. Phronetik primarily focuses on government contracting as the government spends the most money on research, development, and technology in healthcare.

As a small business, Phronetik can handle a professional crisis with more flexibility and agility than a larger company can. We are able to pivot quickly and make faster decisions in response to the unexpected.

How does your company stand apart from its competitors? What are your future milestones for Phronetik?

One of the primary ways we stand apart is bringing artificial intelligence and precision medicine to point-of-care diagnostics with our proprietary software, iConcordia™. These areas have traditionally been isolated to research.

I would like to see iConcordia™ become standard practice in point-of-care diagnostics. I would also like Phronetik to have a larger footprint in government and commercial contracting in the years to come. We are still a small business, but with a revolutionary technology, we make a big impact.

Who was your source of inspiration during the start of your professional career? Whom would you like to dedicate your success?

My mother is my largest source of inspiration. Although she passed away from breast cancer when I was a teenager, everything about her still speaks to me. She possessed an inner strength that I continually strive to emulate. My mother not only had a wealth of intelligence and wisdom, she was also compassionate and gracious. She pulled that off without being a pushover or a wimp. Being a female in technology in the early 80’s was not popular, yet she managed to become very successful, influencing not only my life but also the lives of many. I still find it beautiful and amazing that upon her death, she had memorial services in multiple states coordinated by friends and loved ones whose lives she touched.

I am a Veteran of the US Army, which I joined at the age of 17 and still consider this as one of the best decisions of my life. As a foundation of my professional career, the US Army provided a deep-dive into technology, cybersecurity, defense systems and more. I learned more in the military environment than in any university. I was introduced to a myriad of cultures and people who shared the uniform and the responsibilities with me. This experience and training helped prepare me to lead Phronetik.

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