Can generative AI revolutionize the EHR? ChatGPT's response vs. hospital IT execs

Becker's spoke to hospital and health system CIOs about Epic and Microsoft integrating  generative AI into the EHR, and the responses were met with mixed reviews, but when ChatGPT was asked, it said the technology has the potential to revolutionize the EHR. 

The AI-based chatbot said generative AI technology has the potential to "revolutionize" EHRs by "automating routine tasks, enabling more accurate clinical decision-making, and reducing errors."

Similarly, Tom Barnett, chief information and digital officer of Memphis, Tenn.-based Baptist Memorial Health Care, told Becker's that ChatGPT in EHRs has the ability to exponentially extend a clinician's reach and productivity.

"The capability to use this type of generative AI to keep close tabs on an entire patient population as well as summarize individual encounter notes all while simultaneously cross-examining most academic literature and research studies to cite within visit documentation in near real-time is just the type of major accelerator healthcare could benefit from," Mr. Barnett told Becker's.

ChatGPT also said that "with generative AI, EHRs can be trained to recognize patterns in medical data and use that knowledge to make predictions about patient outcomes, recommend treatment options and alert healthcare providers to potential problems."

This response differs from that of Robert Bart, MD, chief medical information officer at Pittsburgh-based UPMC. 

Dr. Bart told The Wall Street Journal that generative AI technologies are still just "fancy toys" that aren't ready for disease diagnosis just yet, but can be used to improve operational processes such as patient scheduling and workflows.

But, ChatGPT did have some cautions about integrating generative AI into the EHR, similar to those of hospital and health system CIOs on the technology integration.

The chatbot said "there are also potential challenges to consider, such as data privacy, ethical concerns, and the need to ensure that AI algorithms are transparent and explainable." 

Similarly, Esmond Kane, chief information security officer of Dallas-based Steward Health Care, told Becker's that AI does not come without peril.  

"The necessary access to the data supporting these models raises significant privacy concerns, and healthcare is notorious for cumbersome legacy technology ill-prepared for AI," Mr. Kane told Becker's.  

Mr. Kane said any digital transformation, including any adoption of AI, must be built on solid best practices and with support from regulators to overcome some of its inherent challenges.

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