Michael Dowling: AI can help with hospital shortfalls

Northwell Health President and CEO Michael Dowling views technology, particularly artificial intelligence, as a means to achieve the efficiencies required to address the shortcomings hospitals and health systems are facing, Politico reported Jan. 23.

In the midst of financial uncertainty, the healthcare industry is grappling with the repercussions of reduced reimbursement rates from Medicare and Medicaid. On Jan. 1, Medicare implemented a significant cut of 3.4% in reimbursement rates, exacerbating the financial challenges already faced by health systems.

Compounding the issue, states, including New York, are exploring avenues for cost savings within the Medicaid program alongside the federal government.

Mr. Dowling told the news outlet he is advocating for embracing technology, particularly AI, as one way to achieve the efficiencies necessary to navigate these kinds of financial issues hospitals are facing.

"Everybody's focused on figuring out how to maximize and optimize the use of technology — especially now with artificial intelligence and its potential," he said. "I think that we can use AI to dramatically reduce a lot of the labor-intensive things: documentation, predicting future outcomes and more."

New Hyde Park, N.Y.-based Northwell is exploring the technology and has established a center of excellence dedicated to AI, where efforts are devoted to identifying areas within its business that can be optimized for greater efficiency.

"It [AI] has the potential to dramatically improve a lot of things," Mr. Dowling told Politico. "We just have to be careful when the machine brain becomes smarter than the human brain — and we can't figure out what the machine brain is doing."

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