Patient, Provider Support Key to Healthcare Artificial Intelligence – HealthITAnalytics.com

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Patient, provider support key to artificial intelligence success

Source: Thinkstock

By Jessica Kent

– To accelerate the adoption and use of artificial intelligence in healthcare, health systems will need to secure patient and provider support of the technology, develop strong data governance strategies, and invest in innovative tools, the American Hospital Association (AHA) said in a recent report.

AI has the potential to improve every step of the care delivery process, from prevention and detection to diagnosis and treatment, AHA noted. Providers can use the technology for clinical decision support, identifying patients who are at risk for certain diseases, or predicting patients who are likely to suffer an adverse event in the hospital.

“While AI’s success hinges on the expertise of the clinicians and health professionals who use it, it can significantly ease pressure on resources and increase efficiencies,” the organization said.

“Technologies powered by AI, machine learning and robotic process automation have the potential to improve outcomes and patient experience and to control costs through timely and precise interventions, greater productivity and a reduction in unnecessary utilization.”

Countless studies, perspective pieces, and reports have documented the promise of AI in healthcare. However, many in the industry have also pointed out significant barriers to AI adoption, which have just as much weight as potential benefits of the technology.

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One major issue is distrust among providers and patients, AHA stated.

“Far and away, the biggest challenges that hospitals and health systems will face when attempting to use AI in care delivery are concerns by physicians and patients. Many physicians are concerned about the usability of the software and its effectiveness in delivering the right information in a way that is useful and trustworthy,” the organization wrote.

“Many patients are concerned about the privacy and safety issues of having AI diagnose and treat their injuries and illnesses. People tend not to trust machines and would prefer face-to-face consultations with their doctors. In fact, research and surveys consistently have shown those concerns and fears regarding AI in medicine.”

To ensure patients are comfortable with their providers using the technology, AHA recommended that organizations use AI to engage with patients on a regular basis.

“Patients are accustomed to using AI-enabled technologies in other aspects of their lives, such as shopping online or making dinner reservations. The more they experience technology in health care as a way to connect and stay healthy, the more comfortable they will be using it,” the report said.

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Organizations can also use chatbots and AI to connect with patients and use AI to personalize and individualize treatment plans.

To secure support from providers, AHA advised health systems to use AI to manage unsustainable workloads. Additionally, leaders could leverage AI tools to augment clinical decision-making at the point of care. Allowing providers to review and refine AI tools could also help ensure providers are on-board with the technology.

In addition to patient and provider support, AHA stated that organizations will need to appoint teams to manage AI projects.

“Hospitals and health systems will need to set up an organizational chart and assign responsibilities to a group of leaders who not only will oversee the priority and execution of AI projects, but also will be accountable for their outcomes,” AHA noted.

“In addition, organizations that turn to AI to improve care delivery across the continuum will need to assemble a team of AI experts who collectively know how to use AI technology to get actionable information in the hands of caregivers at the point of service.”

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Strong data governance will also help organizations succeed with AI, AHA stated.

“Because AI runs on data from internal clinical systems and other information systems, external data sources and platforms and, potentially, from other legal entities, hospitals and health systems need strong data governance policies to protect the privacy and security of patient data as it flows in and out of an AI algorithm,” the report said.

Finally, health systems should increase their investments in tools and software that will make AI implementation simpler.

“This technology investment falls into two broad categories. First is the AI technology itself, which must include all the hardware and software to run and to connect to all internal and external sources of data that feed AI,” AHA said.

“Second, providers will need to invest in technologies that not only integrate actionable AI insights into workflow on the front end but also technologies that feed data into AI algorithms to generate insights.”

AI could unlock new possibilities in healthcare, allowing providers to deliver more personalized, informed care. Overcoming barriers to adoption will be critical to advancing the industry.

“AI-powered technologies present opportunities for forward-looking hospitals and health systems to reimagine care delivery along every step of the care continuum,” AHA concluded.

“With the right infrastructure, partnerships with vendors, and clinician and patient buy-in, it can help prevent disease, detect important changes in patients’ medical conditions, diagnose patients more accurately and faster, and tailor treatment plans to individual patients. The result is more value delivered to patients and communities.”

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