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Artificial intelligence (AI) has been the talk of the towns, including at the ViVE healthcare conference in Los Angeles and HIMSS in Orlando. On-stage presentations from health systems about their early engagement with AI and tons of booth space and discussions focused on this major trending topic. 

It’s no secret that AI has taken the industry by storm, but more importantly, the industry is recognizing AI’s place in the near future. In a recent healthcare survey conducted by the Berkeley Research Group of more than 150 healthcare providers and pharmaceutical professionals, three in four healthcare professionals believe AI-related technologies will be widespread within the next three years. In fact, the report goes as far as to conclude that more than 4 in 10 healthcare providers say AI has already been widely accepted and effectively implemented.  

AI is here! But can we trust it? 

So, if AI is so far advanced in some healthcare systems, why hasn’t it been as widely incorporated? Trust, or lack thereof, from patients and staff is high, so some health systems have hesitated with this technology.  

In healthcare, the possibility of a negative impact on patient care forces extra precautionary measures to be taken. In a 2021 entry for the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA), researchers suggested that failures of medical AI could have “serious consequences for both clinical outcomes and the patient experience.  

Incredible Health recently published its fifth annual State of US Nursing Report, and the valuable takeaways from the survey of more than 3,300 nurses shine a bright light on two very specific areas. One of those takeaways focused on AI. While 70% of nurses do not believe that AI will impact their roles in the next year, 65% believe that AI will have a negative impact on the healthcare industry. The nursing report also highlighted a huge generational divide amongst those surveyed, with 69% of nurses over 55 believing that AI will negatively impact compared to only 44% of 18- to 24-year-old nurses.  

And it’s not just a staffing concern. While Americans seemingly understand the potential promise of AI, 60% of respondents to a 2023 Pew Research Center survey said Americans would be uncomfortable with their provider relying on AI in their own healthcare. There is also a noticeable gap in trust between men and women in the new technology, with 54% of men being uncomfortable with the use of AI in their own healthcare to do things like diagnose diseases and recommend treatment compared to 66% of women.   

Another hurdle health systems must address is AI literacy, or the basic understanding of what AI can do for a healthcare system. While some AI has been shined in a positive light, algorithm-based systems that work within claim determinations and coverage limits are sometimes being confused with the topic of AI. Algorithms have been marred in negative media coverage and backlash across the industry and, unfortunately, have led to a negative umbrella effect for early AI adopters as the differences between AI and algorithms are very technical at times. 

Steps to take to prepare your healthcare organization for AI:

So how can a health system overcome the concern and mistrust of AI? Here are a few steps to consider:

 

  • Constant communication between your technical team, the validators of the AI system and the operational staff. According to the JAMIA article, we will need to overcome three types of challenges to successfully adapt AI: conceptual challenges, technical challenges and humanistic challenges. Clear, concise goals for the testing of the technology need to be set, or there will be a loss of trust internally, especially among your clinical staff. 
  • A strong AI governance strategy across the organization. While AI will benefit greatly from your database, there are specific parameters and workflows that need to be designed before implementation to ensure the privacy and data security of electronic protected health information (ePHI).  
  • Continued education surrounding AI literacy across the organization. AI technology is moving rapidly, so much so that it has caught the attention of the US government. Taking center stage on committee floors and on the tip of every Senator’s tongue, this topic has been in the spotlight, and there is no slowing down the speed of progress. Therefore, it is important to continue to communicate within your organization on any updates or changes to AI policies and procedures that your governance strategy has dictated.  

Optimum’s innovative AI strategy for healthcare follows our distinctive “crawl, walk, run” methodology. The journey begins with the implementation of large language models (LLMs), such as patient-facing chatbots, which are enhanced with your data. These chatbots are seamlessly integrated into your organization’s infrastructure, setting the stage for further innovation. As part of our collaborative approach, we engage with clients through ideation workshops to tailor solutions that meet their specific needs.  

 Moving to the “walk” phase, we utilize technologies like AI agents and AI orchestration frameworks to effortlessly integrate third-party application data and other data endpoints. This integration enriches your existing systems and significantly expands the range of insights you can gather.  

 Finally, in the “run” phase, we facilitate the adoption of scalable and secure cloud-based solutions for ML Operations and model training. Optimum leverages our deep expertise in AI and cloud technologies to assist you in achieving seamless AI solutions, ensuring your organization’s success. Interested in learning more? Reach out to an Optimum representative today. 

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Rob Summitt

Vice President of Cloud Transformation LinkedIn

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