How Hackensack Meridian is leveraging Google's AI tools for clinicians

Hackensack Meridian Health is deepening its relationship with Google to develop artificial intelligence tools that can be used for both clinical decision-making and reducing administrative workload, the health system CIO Kash Patel told Becker's.

In August, the health system expanded its partnership with Google to leverage the company's AI tools. However, Mr. Patel said that the health system's relationship with Google has been in the works for several years. 

"We were one of the earliest health systems on Workspace and Chromebooks," said Mr. Patel. Our clinicians are using Chromebooks to access Epic across about 70 percent of our whole system."

By expanding the partnership from Chromebooks to AI, the Edison, N.J.-based health system is leveraging Ekam, a Google Cloud-based data platform, and the company's Vertex AI platform. 

Hackensack Meridian has been developing an AI-powered model that can give patients a score and help clinicians intervene during palliative care. 

"Palliative care is about the ability to predict the complication of the patient right around to the end of life complications," said Mr. Patel. "The idea about a score is that it sort of gives a score to the clinical care team to have those conversations around long-term care, home care and medication. We've already proven, and it's all you know, in our own internal data, that these things have helped the physicians have the conversation sooner."

Additionally, the health system is working on developing algorithms for safety events, early delirium intervention and capacity planning. Mr. Patel said that the algorithm-creation process is based on what clinicians see from the bedside. 

"That's our culture right as we go into the various medical boards and councils and meetings, and we're inviting as many people who are willing to participate in the ideation," he said. "Because they're dealing with this day to day in the field with patients and real scenarios in the community."

Beyond using AI in the clinical realm, Mr. Patel says that the tools can also help clinicians save time on paperwork and generate notes.

"We're working on use cases around where we're listening to the physician's voice and are able to create notes and summary notes within Epic," Mr. Patel said.

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