How Mayo Clinic will use generative AI to search through EHRs

Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic is using Google Cloud's generative artificial intelligence application that uses an AI-based chatbot to receive questions, pull information from internal web pages and documents and summarize information from EHRs to form questions, Post Bulletin reported June 12. 

On June 7, Google said Mayo Clinic would be testing out its Enterprise Search in Generative AI App Builder that helps hospitals and health systems quickly find patient information using tools similar to those that are powering AI-based chatbots.

The generative AI program is HIPAA-compliant, which means it can help Mayo pull information from patients' EHRs. 

According to Vish Anantraman, MD, chief technology officer of Mayo, the generative AI could sift through one patient's EHR that could contain up to 8,000 data points. 

"What we think search and generative AI can do with this is take all of that information and allow clinicians to ask ad hoc questions," Dr. Anantraman told the publication.  

For instance, a clinician could ask the AI chatbot if the patient is a smoker, and Google's tool could find text in a patient's record that reads "patient consumed tobacco five years ago," according to Dr. Anantraman. 

Dr. Anantraman also said the AI technology uses retrieval augmented generation and can answer based on facts available to it. This differs from ChatGPT, which has the potential to hallucinate or guess if it doesn't have the correct information.

"It would be searching information about a patient's record, it would be searching information about our intranet website, but all grounded in facts that we've supplied the search engine with rather than facts that this language model might have been trained in," Dr. Anantraman said. 

The tool, although it is a Google product, is installed within Mayo Clinic's IT systems and only pulls information from internal documents and not Google's online search engine, according to the report.

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