Smart Medicine: Brief Review on the Impact of AI in Healthcare

September 27, 2023
Victor Kasinec

Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing the way nurses welcome patients, doctors treat issues, and how the hospital conducts business. From check-in procedures to end treatment optimization, AI is shifting the workload from office tasks back into patient time. AI tools for a hospital environment come in a variety of shapes and sizes. These digital tools can be as simple as a chatbot to assist with patient follow-ups or as complex as precision dosing. This article explores the potential capabilities of how automation and AI in the healthcare industry can save practices time and money and shift the focus back toward the patients.

Modernizing Patient Interaction and Administrative Tasks:

Checking in physically is an archaic practice that should be updated to save both the hospitals and patients time. AI assistants send links and allow for the secure upload of previous medical documents. They can also send the patients reminders, directions, and schedule follow-ups. These bots also save the time of the data-input specialists and allow the doctors to see all available information before the patient arrives. A digital check-in process can be utilized to save the time of both patients and practitioners. 

A standardized form and tablet reporting system are common solutions for nurses and other intake professionals. The struggle for many hospitals usually comes after the data is collected. AI can help identify, extract, and paste the data into corresponding regions or datasets of interest. This not only expedites the process of updating and accessing patient records but also minimizes the likelihood of errors associated with manual data entry. 

Additionally, AI-driven predictive analytics play a pivotal role in optimizing resource allocation within healthcare facilities. Machine learning models can analyze historical data to forecast patient admission rates, allowing hospitals to allocate staff and resources accordingly. This not only prevents understaffing during peak periods but also reduces excess capacity during slower times, resulting in a more streamlined and cost-effective operation. Receptionists and other backend support teams have the potential to utilize AI in the way they conduct daily business affairs. AI has the ability to find potential insurance fraud by analyzing and comparing data that could have gone unnoticed under a human eye. AI has been extremely accurate in finding patterns for fraud that could save hospitals and administrations money in the long term. 

The main goal of AI for office workers is to reduce the administrative burden thus increasing productivity and patient convenience. The key to these tools is to ensure that they are user-friendly, have simple integration, and comply with all HIPAA policies. These solutions are all typically scalable while the custom-need may differ between hospitals and where the support is needed the most. AI-powered billing and coding tools can automatically generate accurate invoices based on the provided medical information, mitigating the risk of coding errors that often lead to claim denials and reimbursement delays. By automating these administrative processes, healthcare providers can achieve substantial cost savings and redirect resources toward improving patient outcomes and expanding access to care.

The doctor will see you now

Telemedicine is transforming the relationship between doctors and patients. The CDC states that in 2021, 37% of adults used telemedicine in the past year.

AI presents an opportunity to streamline the effectiveness and efficiency of telemedicine operations. With the previously mentioned support of assistant bots, the amount of staff needed for a remote operation can be reduced. Virtual health assistants equipped with natural language processing capabilities can conduct preliminary assessments, gather relevant medical history, and provide personalized recommendations, thereby streamlining the initial consultation process. Doctors can also employ the use of AI to help with medical imaging, patient dosing, and live patient checklists.

Artificial Intelligence integrated with dynamic checklists can be used to ensure compliance and streamline operations for doctors. Single user IDs can be assigned to each separate patient and be stored securely in the cloud or on-site. Follow-up appointments will then be automated and custom markers can be made to identify high-risk patients. AI-powered triage systems assist in prioritizing patient cases based on the severity of their symptoms, allowing practitioners to allocate their time and resources more effectively. AI can also provide decision support by offering evidence-based recommendations for treatment plans, taking into account the patient's unique medical history and current condition. By streamlining diagnostic processes and reducing the margin for error, AI not only improves patient outcomes but also alleviates the burden on healthcare systems, making it a pivotal tool in the future of medicine. This takes time away from the repetitive tasks and puts it back into the doctors’ hands. 

Overall, AI can help smaller telemedicine firms as much as larger institutions. While different challenges may arise for smaller firms, support bots and virtual intake assistants can bridge the gap and create new opportunities for these doctors. Access to a simpler patient check-in process, advanced data analysis with machine learning, and improved doctor-client follow-up are various ways that digital tools can support and stimulate increased business for telemedicine practitioners. This ultimately leads to higher-quality care, improved patient satisfaction, and greater operational efficiency.

AI-Powered Machine Learning for Diagnosing 

Machine learning has also been proven to improve the accuracy of diagnostics and help doctors and practitioners make informed decisions. The U.S. Government Accountability Office reports that errors in diagnosing affect 12 million Americans yearly with total costs in the billions. Machine learning has the potential to save countless lives with more accurate diagnoses while also saving the money of hospitals, insurance agencies, and patients. One notable area of advancement, with the help of AI, includes medical imaging technologies such as MRIs, x-rays, and ultrasounds.

Data from heart monitors are also being fed into algorithms. The Heart Rhythm Society published, with the help of AI algorithms, ¾ of false heart monitor alerts were eliminated while keeping all true alerts. Within minutes, machine learning combines years of data and past diagnoses to learn potential markers that may have been overlooked. This allows smaller telemedicine practices to review potential data and have access to a virtual colleague. The larger hospitals and institutions will have even more data to feed the machine and speed up the learning process.

Artificial intelligence is fundamentally transforming healthcare, from administrative tasks to medical diagnostics and telemedicine. By automating check-in procedures and administrative tasks, AI not only saves time for both patients and practitioners but also minimizes the likelihood of errors associated with manual data entry. Predictive analytics and fraud detection further optimize resource allocation and financial operations within healthcare facilities. AI-driven virtual health assistants streamline initial consultations, while dynamic checklists and triage systems enhance efficiency and prioritize patient cases. As the healthcare industry continues to embrace AI, the potential for enhanced patient care, increased operational efficiency, and improved outcomes is endless. This technological revolution marks a pivotal shift towards a more patient-centered, data-driven, and efficient healthcare ecosystem.

Improved algorithms and advanced diagnosing are just a glimpse at what the future may hold for innovation in hospitals and practices. Potential lives can be saved from advancements in monitoring that must encourage us to keep innovating and advancing healthcare. Whether it is a simple solution or a whole system redesign, opportunities are becoming tangible for practices of any shape and size. The potential time and cost savings associated with these examples, as well as the lives that can be saved, appeal to doctors and hospitals wanting to advance their businesses and the services they can provide.

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