Generative AI as healthcare's co-pilot

Photo: HIMSS Media/Andrea Fox

Generative artificial intelligence presents opportunities across provider functions and changing patient experiences, says Erik Barnett, North America advisory health and life sciences lead and digital advisory practice leader with Avanade, a digital, cloud and advisory service provider to healthcare and other industries.

“It’s hyper-personalized, and so this makes it interesting,” he said today at the HIMSS23. 

With chatbots, there is usually “a dead end somewhere.” However, large language models like ChatGPT take it to the next level, and the use of AI has drastically changed in mere months since the November 2022 launch.

Barnett presented use cases and spoke about the potential for generative AI to act as a co-pilot in helping to address the healthcare industry’s business and clinical challenges – like clinician burnout and achieving interoperability – and benefit the patient experience. 

Burnout is evident in nursing shortages and doctors reporting that they are spending more than two hours each day doing paperwork, he said.

For clinical intelligence, generative AI is very good at summarizing information. This can be especially helpful for patients that have multiple conditions, he said.

Utilizing machine learning for topic analysis and pattern recognition can also change patient experiences, while sentiment analysis can identify how they are feeling.

Pattern recognition, for example, can answer questions about patients, such as when they report having pain, said Barnett.

“Was it at a certain time of the day? Did they have pain in certain parts of the body at certain times of the year?” 

Patient discharge documents are another use case where generative AI can take generic information, and make it very personalized. They can be based on a patient’s specific past medical history and what happened in that appointment with the physician and the care team.

It could be very helpful for patients to go back and look at that interaction in greater detail.

For example, “When someone tells you have a cancer, you don’t hear another word,” Barnett said.

In value-based care, where the goal is to reduce hospitalizations, readmissions and emergency room visits, generative AI could improve care plan adherence by personalizing care plans. 

“It’s more likely that a patient follows through and takes their medications as appropriate, but also is motivated to be a part of that plan,” he said.

Andrea Fox is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Email: [email protected]

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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