Extending the value of EHR data with AI and intelligent automation

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Healthcare is not an industry that has been quick to digitize, but the pandemic has expedited healthcare's digital transformation. When deployed effectively, digital health tools can increase patient engagement, accelerate clinical workflows, optimize the revenue cycle and reduce the cost of care.

During an April 12 webinar hosted by Becker's Hospital Review and Notable, industry experts discussed how healthcare providers should approach digital transformation and leverage intelligent automation to deliver the highest quality, safest, most satisfying care at the lowest cost. 

Muthu Alagappan, MD, Notable's medical director, spoke with Bob Wachter, MD, chair of the department of medicine at University of California San Francisco, about the evolution of technology and innovation in healthcare. Healthcare’s last major technological transformation was the EHR, which digitized the paper chart, but kept the overall process of charting and documentation the same. Although healthcare was the last major industry to "go digital," its transformation journey is similar to other industries in that the benefits of technology take time to fully take shape.

There are four main stages of health IT:

  1. Digitize health records. EHR usage is now widespread, as such systems improve the quality of health records and support data-driven decision making,

  2. Connect all the dots. Enterprise systems should be connected with each other, as well as third party tools. This makes a healthcare provider's data more comprehensive and allows external apps to be powered with health data. Some technologies that support the process of connecting all the dots include HL7 interface engines and integration platforms. Designing, publishing, documenting and analyzing APIs will also be helpful.

  3. Utilize your data. Healthcare providers should glean insights from their data to better understand how the organization is performing, recognize patient needs, identify patterns and make predictions. Artificial intelligence technologies such as machine vision, machine learning and natural language processing can help healthcare providers identify opportunities to increase efficiency and improve clinical outcomes.

  4. Act on your insights. After gleaning insights, healthcare providers should act on them by creating new workflows, protocols and initiatives that deliver on their promise of value. This often involves robotic process automation (RPA), the process of training software bots to interact with computer screens and software applications the same way humans do. These bots can serve as an extension of the human workforce, freeing up time for healthcare staff. to focus on higher complexity tasks and less repetitive, manual data entry. 

Challenges still remain in accessing EHR data in a way that is fast, intuitive and doesn’t require hundreds of clicks. Meaningful transformational change happens when organizations embrace digital technologies like AI to reimagine the work, versus merely replicating their paper-based processes. With intelligent automation, health systems can reimagine the way care gets delivered, from the front desk to the back office, and create more personalized patient experiences without creating more work for staff and clinicians.

To learn more about Notable Health, click here. To view the webinar, click here.

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