Aidoc Staff

How AI Technology in Healthcare is Improving Patient Outcomes

Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to become the standard of care. As much as it’s been seen as an outlier/experimental technology, its impact on not only triaging, but clinical workflows have been proven throughout academic institutions worldwide. In this blog post, we’re going to explore how AI is used in healthcare, and how AI powered healthcare enables clinicians across service lines to b

enefit in some surprising ways.

The infographic below provides a quick overview of some of the crucial terms to know when discussing healthcare AI:

Dictionary style infographic showcasing how AI technology in healthcare is defined across various terms.

How AI Technology is Used in Healthcare

While the clinical world still grasps the full extent of AI’s capabilities, common misconceptions linger as to what clinical AI can mean. Is it automated call centers? Is my physician going to be robotic? The reality is that the role of AI in healthcare is not intended to replace radiologists or other physicians, but to augment them and to help health systems bring their full potential to fruition. 

Consider the slew of hurdles health systems are faced with today: 

  • Workforce challenges – clinician shortages and burnout
  • Financial challenges
  • Patient safety and quality
  • Access to care
  • Patient satisfaction
  • Physician-hospital relationships
  • Technology
  • Population health management
  • Reorganization – mergers and acquisitions and partnerships

While the use of AI technology in healthcare is not going to alleviate each of these challenges, AI does help health systems do more with fewer resources. A connected system of intelligence brings together disparate devices and platforms, which makes it uniquely positioned to address ongoing structural and cultural challenges by acting as a clinical partner and health system optimization tool. But let’s start with the clinical application of AI.

How AI Technology Is Improving Clinical Outcomes in Healthcare

By helping health systems accomplish more with fewer resources, the application of AI in healthcare helps with:

1. Reduced Hospital Length of Stay

A shortened length of stay (LOS) isn’t simply about getting patients out of beds and making room for others; it indicates that patients are receiving the right treatment at the right time and experiencing outcomes that enable them to go back to their life outside the hospital. In fact, a study conducted at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center found that introducing AI triaging software reduced the LOS for patients with intracranial hemorrhage and patients with pulmonary embolism by 11.9% and 26.3%, respectively.

2. Enhanced Disease Awareness

Implementing AI in healthcare has benefits beyond triaging. When implemented system-wide, it can even increase specialist awareness of patients in need. By connecting specialists, such as those that work together on the Pulmonary Embolism Response Team (PERT), AI is able to connect specialists and empower them to act more quickly on more patients, eliminating the needless game of phone tag that ensues when a pulmonary embolism patient surfaces. One retrospective study from Yale New Haven Hospital found that the combination of AI-triggered notifications and triaging resulted in a 40% increase in advanced therapy at their spoke facility.

3. Expedited Treatment

AI technology in healthcare continually impacts outcomes in ways that may not be expected. Take patient treatment times, for example. What started as a tool to help radiologist triage patients, according to this study, amounted to an “approximately one-hour improvement in the median time to emergency department presentation and over a 13-hour difference in the median time to anticoagulant prescription retrieval” for patients with incidental pulmonary embolism findings. The study further confirms that workflow changes “with AI-enabled worklist reprioritization for radiologists led to more timely follow-up care for patients with incidental PE findings on CT scans.”

How AI Technology is Improving Clinical Operations

The improvement in clinical outcomes for patients could not come to be without substantial improvements in clinical operations. So how does the application of AI in healthcare make a noteworthy impact in this regard? Here are a few key highlights:

1. Alleviating Administrative Burden

Simply put, the healthcare industry cannot continue to rely on “business as usual” when it comes to time-consuming tasks that other industries have already proven can benefit from AI. Reducing and automating administrative tasks can lead to better work-life balance and stronger patient-provider relationships – two factors that can aid recruitment and retention.

2. The Value of AI for Health System Optimization

From the moment a patient is admitted, several crucial milestones take place: Scans are ordered, executed, transcribed and reported – only then can treatment begin. Since radiologists are at the center of this activity, the field has served as a testing ground for how an AI-enabled read room can bring downstream value to patients and health systems in several ways:

  • Faster analysis and prioritization of scans, leading to quicker diagnosis
  • Increased sensitivity and specificity, leading to better accuracy
  • Improved workflow and reading time, translating to quicker throughput

3. The Clinical Partnership of AI

AI powered healthcare acts as a partner to clinicians, giving them time back from administrative tasks and enabling them to instead use that time on patient care. This happens in a few ways:

  • Automating administrative tasks: AI can automate repetitive tasks, including data entry, scheduling and charting, allowing more time for direct patient care. 
  • Reducing staff burnout: AI reduces the amount of time spent on non-value-added tasks to improve overall efficiency while reducing cognitive load.
  • Improving diagnostic efficiency: AI supports clinicals in making accurate and timely decisions that can lead to more confident decision making.

The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

While there isn’t a single “role” AI is meant to play in the healthcare landscape, we can see its impact reaching beyond the reading room for which, in many ways, it was originally intended. AI companies are beginning to see the bigger picture, opting for a platform approach that empowers systems with one, all-encompassing AI interface. As health systems continue to grapple with what role they want to see AI play in their organization, the technology’s capabilities will continually expand, providing notable benefits to both clinicians and patients alike.

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Aidoc Staff