Bon Secours Mercy Health digs into AI for value-based care

Cincinnati-based Bon Secours Mercy Health is on a mission to provide better patient outcomes, increase patient engagement and reduce overall operational costs by becoming more efficient. Digital transformation and artificial intelligence are enabling the move, which has already yielded great results.


"Our data is at the core of [transformation] and we have so much innovation and so much enhancement of these drivers to data AI applications," said Shahidul Mannan, chief data officer at Bon Secours Mercy Health, during a recent episode of the "Becker's Healthcare Podcast." "That's what I think is the biggest value we see from data and AI: driving healthcare digitization and transformation in the space."

Mr. Mannan and his team are focused on the next generation of data enablement and innovation using AI and big data for better patient outcomes and engagement. The health system developed a multi-tenant, big data cloud analytics platform consolidating clinical and EHR data with system data to build a longitudinal 360 view of the system. The platform also integrated operational supply chain, human resources, billing and financial data to drive better insights.

"We are already seeing the value coming out of it with various types of insights and analytics that we are helping out across the system to drive better operations," he said. "We have six to eight AI-driven use cases that are in production based on these data assets and analytics capabilities. We are very excited about that and have a plethora of use cases and application areas using these platform data and analytics."

Having the platform and data capabilities is important, but leaders must also make sure information flows effectively to the right team members and they act on it appropriately. The data platform touches every department and all leaders within the system.

"A big part of the transition is the evangelism that can help develop the strategy that covers across departments , across our system, and to build that vision together that can help everyone align on this value proposition," said Mr. Mannan. "That's what I have been focused on with my team over the last few years. We made great strides by building out our roadmap, capabilities and demonstrating value."

Mr. Mannan has worked with his team to build the foundation and long-term capabilities of the roadmap, and set goals for demonstrating value in three or six month increments to gauge progress.

"What that does is it helps people understand and process the strategy and long-term goals, but also helps build the credibility by actually showing the results and demonstrating value," said Mr. Mannan. "That's how we focused on doing more with larger collaboration across the system."

The health system can now enable more independent data science teams and other independent organizations to enable their analytics and innovation activities. Mr. Mannan said his team calls the model "self-service democratization environments."

"Anyone who doesn't have a full cycle of technology expertise or full stack of talent in-house would be able to come and play with the data and innovate with their ideas on our platform, and we would also be able to integrate their data and provide it in a more meaningful fashion," said Mr. Mannan. "We would also look at operationalizing the artificial intelligence capabilities that we have built and share the goodies with a larger group of hospitals internally and potentially externally as well."

Opening the platform up for external use would be a big jump for Bon Secours Mercy Health's IT services, supporting additional value extraction. The multi-tenant platform has several use cases supporting value-based care and Mr. Mannan expects to see more application adoption for value-based care.

The platform can also help generate revenue for the organization overall. Alongside their partners, Mr. Manna's team has been able to build out the capability to de-identify patient data.

"We are extremely cautious about how we handle our data, respecting the privacy of patients and being compliant with HIPAA and other regulations," said Mr. Mannan. "But this de-identified and anonymization technology has enabled us to share the data for more innovation and revenue generation."

The health system is building out a chat bot to help respond to patient questions quickly in real time, at any time of the day. Mr. Mannan said it was like WebMD on a chatbot that can further engage patients and help them understand a given situation or problem.The bot can also guide patients through next steps of treatment.

Bon Secours Mercy Health is also contemplating using large language models for nurse triaging for more efficiency and better patient experience. The health system has machine learning driven applications in production for reducing length of stay and predicting hospital readmission for high risk patients.

"All these are in play and some through partnerships for innovation productization, we are hoping will earn more revenue and expedite more innovation and extract more value by cost reduction or optimizing operations," said Mr. Mannen. "These are some of the things that are the tip of the iceberg for high value items that we are focused on. We are constantly looking at more opportunities and have built out a queue of next steps of causes that we'll continue to work on."

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