Should health systems prioritize clinical or operational predictive analytics? 5 healthcare leaders discuss

Five clinical and health IT leaders discussed how their organizations are pursuing predictive analytics and artificial intelligence during a panel May 11 at Becker's Hospital Review Health IT + Clinical Leadership conference in Chicago.

Panelists included:

  • Terri Couts, vice president of clinical systems and Epic applications program at the Guthrie Clinic in Sayre, Pa.
  • Dan Connors, vice president of development for clinical analytics at Allscripts
  • Arturo Loaiza-Bonilla, MD, chief of medical oncology and medical director of research at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Boca Raton, Fla.
  • Kathy Downing, vice president of governance, informatics, standards, privacy and security at the American Health Information Management Association
  • Alyssa Foxx, vice president of data science and reporting at Cipher Health
  • Moderated by Molly Gamble, vice president and editor-in-chief of Becker's Hospital Review

Here is a brief summary of their discussion.

Opportunities for AI in clinical care, operations and risk stratification

Ms. Downing said she believes operations is one of the greatest opportunities for AI and predictive analytics in hospitals.

"There are a lot of ways AI and predictive analytics can help [providers] without getting in the way of the patient-provider interaction," Ms. Downing said. "It should be focused on improving operations, such as recommending the best way to staff your emergency department on the fourth of July."

Ms. Couts said the Guthrie Clinic launched an app using analytics and AI to improve care management for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in its Medicaid population.

"Based on the information [patients] entered [into the app], like if they took their medication today, there's algorithms running in the background that escalate a patient who may be at risk," Ms. Couts said. Since implementing the program, the hospital has reported a decrease in utilization and increase in patient engagement among participating patients.

Unlike Guthrie, Cancer Centers of America is pursuing analytics and AI in clinical treatment rather than care management, Dr. Loaiza-Bonilla said.

"As a research-oriented organization focused solely on cancer care, that allows us to focus on initiatives that hospitals that care for everyone and everything can't," Dr. Loaiza-Bonilla said.

Mr. Connors is similarly focused on predictive analytics and AI in clinical research.

"Using deep learning, we've put together comparisons of patients with diabetes in the patient care space to try and predict patients at risk of transitioning from pre-diabetic to diabetic," Mr. Connors said.

Ms. Foxx pointed to patient engagement and risk stratification as the two main drivers for AI that her organization is seeing among clients.

"We as an organization [at Cipher] are optimizing how we reach out to patients," Ms. Foxx said. "The best way to reach different cohorts of patients is based on how they prefer to engage."

More articles on data analytics and precision medicine: 

Study predicts patients' disease risks using emergency contacts
Questions about data ownership mount as physicians increasingly record patient visits
Sanford Health to offer genetic tests in primary care clinics

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