Ochsner to integrate AI into Epic

Louisiana-based Ochsner Health is piloting a program in which AI will be used to draft simple responses to patient messages it receives in its portal. 

Approximately 100 Ochsner Health physicians will use Microsoft's Azure OpenAI within Epic that can asynchronously draft replies to patient messages for providers. 

The providers will have the option to edit the draft the AI created for them, according to a Sept. 19 news release in which Ochsner stated that a physician will always be a part of the review process to ensure the message is accurate before sending it to patients. 

"The AI will generate a draft for the clinician to review and send. It's meant to help clinicians respond more quickly to patient messages, so patients can get answers to their questions sooner," Amy Trainor, chief application officer of the health system said in the release. "And it will reduce the time our clinicians are spending on computers so that they can spend more time doing what they do best — direct patient care."

The health system will pilot the program in three phases through fall 2023. Each phase will collect patient feedback so that Ochsner can continue to enhance the system, according to Ms. Trainor.

Ochsner joins health systems such as UC San Diego Health, Madison Wis.-based UW Health and Palo Alto, Calif.-based Stanford Health Care in piloting AI to answer patient messages.

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