Back to work: How AI can help support staff as medical services resume amid COVID-19

As healthcare organizations consider re-opening services amid the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring the safety and wellness of their employees and patients is a key focus. Leadership must think about how to effectively re-engage with employees who have been away from work while also preparing for patients' return.

During a virtual workshop hosted by Becker's Hospital Review and sponsored by Jvion, presenters described how artificial intelligence can help healthcare organizations address these issues.

Presenters were:

  • John Showalter, MD, chief product officer, Jvion
  • Kathleen McGrow, DNP, RN, chief nursing information officer, Microsoft Health & Life Science Industry Team

Five takeaways from the workshop:

1. Fewer patients are receiving care amid the COVID-19 pandemic due to safety concerns. Therefore, hospitals and health systems must make a concerted effort to rebuild trust with patients returning for elective care and reassure them healthcare may be obtained safely, said Dr. McGrow. She encouraged organizations to rebuild trust by using AI to provide patients with more information about their care and ensure their health information is secure and protected.

2. When re-engaging employees who have been away from work, hospitals and health systems should consider COVID-19 testing, staggering work shifts for social distancing purposes and providing consistent COVID-19 information to employees, according to Dr. McGrow. "If we are going to re-open, patients and employees need to feel comfortable, and we will want to ensure they are not COVID positive," she said. Additionally, deploying AI to assess vulnerability can help re-opening strategies take a more proactive turn.

3. AI can assess vulnerability beyond what is identified by COVID testing. This helps determine whether an employee needs to see a physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant before returning to work, presenters said. For example, Jvion’s Employer Recovery Back-to-Work Assessment asks 25 AI-honed question to determine their vulnerability to COVID-19 exposure and infection.

4. Once an employee is deemed good to go back to work, Jvion also provides an ongoing employee exposure/safety assessment powered by AI. Dr. Showalter said the assessment is conducted by resurveying employees through their employer, or by Jvion using employee-sponsored health plan claims data to do passive monitoring of employees to see if their risk or vulnerability changes.

5. AI can also help hospitals and health system leaders understand which patients have the highest morbidity and mortality risks due to acute respiratory illness from viruses, said Dr. Showalter. "Employers make policies based on where employees live as well as understanding if vulnerable employees should not be sent to an area," he explained. For example, Dr. Showalter said, employers need to ensure high-risk people are not working in high-risk areas.

Click here to learn more about Jvion. Click here to listen to a recording of the workshop.


More articles on artificial intelligence:
Elon Musk claims AI chip could 'fix anything that's wrong with the brain'
Mount Sinai pioneers AI tech for rapid COVID-19 diagnosis
What's on the AI wish list for 3 healthcare execs


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