Cleveland Clinic CEO turns to AI to ease labor shortage

Cleveland Clinic President and CEO Tom Mihaljevic, MD, said the health system will be using AI to help cope with the global shortage of healthcare workers, reported Jan.  24. 

According to Dr. Mihaljevic, there are approximately 1 million vacant nursing positions in the U.S., with only 100,000 new nurses graduating each year.

"The gap is so wide that we will have to get used to living with a workforce shortage in healthcare for many years to come," he said during Cleveland Clinic's annual state of the clinic address on Jan. 24. "We're very excited about our ability to use artificial intelligence to run our own business smarter, better in a more efficient way."

Cleveland Clinic has already initiated pilot programs incorporating AI solutions. One example is an AI-driven patient portal known as an advice companion. This portal provides individuals with chronic diseases with prompt, computer-generated responses about their condition, replacing traditional messages from their physicians.

Artificial intelligence is also being used to capture patient-caregiver conversations, allowing caregivers to dedicate more time to patients and less to paperwork, with computer-generated notes being reviewed for accuracy, according to Dr. Mihaljevic. For instance, AI is used in MyChart to generate compassionate, detailed and timely responses to patient queries.

Cleveland Clinic is also collaborating with an AI-driven company to predict patient influx and surgeries to and optimize resource allocation. This technology enables scaling up healthcare provision to more patients, addressing concerns about access to care amid a caregiver shortage. 

But the health system is proceeding with caution when it comes to AI. Dr. Mihaljevic emphasized that human verification of AI-generated results will always occur at the organization. 

According to Dr. Mihaljevic, some AI applications are already in use at Cleveland Clinic, while others are in pilot phases across different parts of the system. 

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