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Artificial Intelligence Uses in Health Care & Medicine

Instructor: Alyssa Campbell

Alyssa is an active RN and teaches Nursing and Leadership university courses. She also has a Doctorate in Nursing Practice and a Master's in Business Administration.

Technological advances have boosted the healthcare provider's ability to make better decisions. Read this lesson to learn more about the impact of artificial intelligence in the healthcare industry.

Advancement of Healthcare

Health and medical practices have been in development for millennia. Now with the advancement of technology and use of computers, artificial intelligence is a growing aspect of health and medicine. Artificial intelligence (A.I.), or machines systems with high levels of programming, is growing in popularity in these fields.

Alex, the technology manager for a large healthcare network, is tasked with finding ways to incorporate A.I. into daily practice across all sites. After doing some research and talking to colleagues in other facilities, Alex has found a few opportunities to incorporate A.I. at his own organization.

A.I. in Decision Making

In other healthcare facilities, Alex learns that A.I. is being applied through the use of computer software programs, allowing a vast amount of medical knowledge to be reviewed in a short amount of time.

The outcome of all this computer processing results in assisted decision making, allowing a healthcare provider to input data and arrive at a decision to help manage care. The artificially produced result is the product of complex protocols that have been put into place with the use of medical statistics, diagnostic evaluations, and new research results.

Before computers and software programs, health care providers struggled to keep up with the latest treatments and recommendations to provide the best evidence-based care. Now with the help of assisted decision making software, Alex finds that providers can easily sort through lists of care options that are available for individual patients.

These A.I. decision makers enable health care providers to make precise and efficient decisions, but are meant to be used in conjunction with clinical judgment (reasoning and decision making skills based off of real clinical expertise, knowledge, and experience).

This means that the providers in Alex's organization can use the information to help the patient make decisions about their care, but must also consider preferences, culture, and receptiveness to the artificially produced suggestion. In other words, just because the A.I. decision reflects the latest procedure for curing a brain tumor, does not mean it is a procedure the patient wishes to undergo.

Order Entry

Alex learns that adapting medical practices to incorporate A.I. holds potential for landmark quality and safety improvements. The introduction of assisted order entry within electronic medical records can curb risky decision making and human error.

Assisted order entry are the A.I. protocols in place when a provider is inputting medical orders for patients. They help to identify relevant tests, medication interactions, and allergies that could cause harm to the patient.

Alex envisions this A.I. to be seen in the form of pop-up messages and notifications within the order entry screen to alert providers of these potential dangers. For example, say a provider wishes to order a high risk medication to thin the blood. Upon entering the electronic order for this drug, the A.I. steps in, and alerts the provider to the latest blood testing result. The provider then decides to hold off on ordering the medication due to seeing the abnormal result.

Behavior Changes

Alex reaches out to his colleagues working in medical technology companies, and finds some cutting edge A.I. to be of interest to his organization's community practices. Historically, patients in his community have had difficulty with medication compliance and long-term symptom management. He finds sources of A.I. that may help improve the health of the community.

Software programs designed to run off smaller devices like smart phones and watches are being developed to help patients manage things like:

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