Takeaways from HIMSS23 by an AI medical documentation CEO

The industry conference highlighted how new technology can be used to solve vexing, expensive and work-intensive problems.

Various technologies are being accepted to aid clinicians in predicting disease progression and identifying at-risk patients.

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) 2023 conference in Chicago brought together healthcare professionals, vendors and thought leaders to discuss the latest advancements and innovations in the field.

As a CEO of an AI medical documentation company, I attended HIMSS with great anticipation and excitement to hear from leading experts and decision-makers about the industry’s latest trends and challenges. Much of these discussions ranged from workforce shortages, burnout across the industry, and the new interest and investment in artificial intelligence (AI).

Through the lens of artificial intelligence, the healthcare industry is shifting the focus from just learning about new technologies and tools to now adopting them into everyday practice to bring value to patients and providers alike. Overall, the industry is looking to embrace transformative technology and adopt greater collaboration.

Here are my top takeaways from HIMSS23.

Generative AI, machine learning become mainstream in healthcare

Artificial intelligence and machine learning (ML) are not new concepts in healthcare, but their usage is becoming increasingly prevalent. At HIMSS, I heard from many healthcare organizations that are adopting AI and ML to improve clinical decision-making, streamline operations and reduce costs.

AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants are becoming more common in healthcare, and machine learning algorithms are being used to predict disease progression and identify at-risk patients.

Large language models (LLMs) are fascinating technologies that have brought significant advancements during the last decade in many industries, including healthcare. ChatGPT is a prime example of the discussion around the advancements made with LLMs as AI tools that tap into large datasets to execute advanced language-related tasks. This includes reading, summarizing and translating texts, as well as constructing sentences.

It is important to understand how LLMs can advance healthcare, but it is equally important to recognize some of their limitations. This trend validates our company’s mission to provide AI-based medical documentation products to healthcare organizations with a fully integrated technology stack that goes beyond LLMs. In the case of creating a medical note, LLMs such as ChatGPT are not sufficient to provide a comprehensive and accurate solution to medical documentation challenges now facing clinicians.

What I heard most prevalently during HIMSS is the role that trust plays in healthcare technology, particularly AI and ML. It is critical that AI-based products are capable of instilling trust among clinicians. Without trust, clinician adoption of AI and ML will stall. To that end, it’s essential that products incorporate transparency in how their output is created (rather than AI pronouncements flowing from a “black box” solution), as well as guardrails that help prevent potential errors to which LLMs are susceptible.

If applied in a thoughtful and responsible manner, AI and ML have the potential to offer real relief from some of the more burdensome administrative tasks facing clinicians, freeing them to focus on what matters most – delivering high-quality patient care.

Patient engagement is evolving

Patients are becoming increasingly engaged in their healthcare. Harnessing AI in a manner that is unobtrusively integrated into clinician workflows removes a barrier to such engagement by enabling the clinician to focus on the patient, not the technology. Creating a human connection with the patient at the point of care will inevitably lead to better patient outcomes and provide a more fulfilling experience for both the patient and clinician.  

Streamlining workflows is key

In its efforts to increase patient access, improve patient outcomes and enhance operating efficiency, the healthcare industry is increasingly adopting AI and automation tools.

HCA Healthcare is an example of an organization that is pushing the frontiers of this technology, through its recent launch of an AI-powered ambient documentation pilot program in the acute care setting.

The acute care setting is particularly challenging in light of the non-linear nature of clinician and nurse workflows. Any ambient-based documentation solution must be capable of interacting with multiple patient health records in real time, ensuring that data extracted from the EHR is ascribed to the appropriate patient while being able to pick up the right voices within a very busy and noisy environment. This initiative aims to streamline hospital workflows and provide physicians and nurses with more time to focus on patient care and, thus, increase patient access.

Skepticism of AI is a healthy part of adoption

While much of the conversation at HIMSS focused on the excitement of adopting new technologies into the clinician workflow, there was also healthy skepticism and important questions asked about how to best use these technologies while considering safety, privacy, transparency and the need for human oversight.

Serious consideration of these issues is vital to thoughtful and responsible adoption of new technologies, especially in a field where human lives are on the line. Until complete trust can be established in such technology, which will likely take considerable time, they should not supplant human judgment.

Manny Krakaris is chief executive officer of Augmedix, a company that delivers ambient medical documentation and data solutions.

More for you

Loading data for hdm_tax_topic #care-team-experience...