Stanford CIO zeros in on AI use cases

Stanford Health Care is gearing up for a transformative year in 2024, with a focus on harnessing the power of predictive and generative AI for clinical care, research, and education.

Becker's spoke to Michael Pfeffer, MD, CIO of Palo Alto, Calif.-based Stanford Health Care and Stanford School of Medicine, to discuss the organization's top priorities for 2024, its AI pilot, and the key trends that could shape healthcare in the new year.

Question: What are some of the top priorities you're looking to tackle in your role in 2024? 

Dr. Michael Pfeffer: We are focused on harnessing the transformative potential of predictive and generative artificial intelligence in all aspects of our mission from clinical care to research and education.

Stanford is also going to continue to focus on simplicity and usability as it pertains to all our IT systems. One way we're tackling this is by continuing to leverage our platform technologies to drive value from our current investments and build upon their capabilities. For example, we want to deliver predictive AI through our electronic health record platform, easing the administrative burden on our clinicians. We also want to deliver knowledge through our business functions to our end users via our IT service management platform – we're really focusing on leveraging what our platforms can do and building on top of them. 

We're also advancing the capabilities of our MyHealth patient portal: we've added numerous patient journeys, with the latest being "procedures" that guides patients throughout their perioperative experience. We're excited about even more engagement potential using AI built right into many aspects of MyHealth.

Streamlining and automating aspects of our clinical trials management life cycle is another area we're focused on so that we can accelerate trial activation for our patients.

Some other key areas of focus for Stanford are that we're looking to develop and implement new opportunities for medical education using AI and sophisticated content development. And finally, we're working on really ensuring that our researchers have the necessary foundational compute and storage needs for the cutting-edge health and life sciences discoveries that are being accelerated with new AI capabilities.

Q: What trends or technologies are you keeping close tabs on in 2024?

MP: One trend I'm closely observing with AI is how regulatory requirements will guide how we must use these technologies. Stanford has been at the forefront of thinking about the ethical ramifications of AI and is home to HAI, the Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence Institute. This summer, Stanford launched RAISE-Health (Responsible AI for Safe and Equitable Health), a joint initiative between Stanford Medicine and HAI to guide the responsible use of AI across biomedical research, education, and patient care. I think that we need responsible humans to pair with AI for a system that's truly responsible.

Another area is assistive technologies that use AI, which will be built into a lot of the products that we currently have, and how those will work. Will they be able to provide value back to everyday tasks? I'm excited to keep an eye on that.

I'm also enthusiastic about how to better integrate genomic information into the electronic health record. And finally, I'm keeping close tabs on high performance compute capabilities both on premises and in the cloud.

Q: In 2023, Stanford began piloting AI that can asynchronously draft responses to patient messages for providers. How has the pilot gone?

MP: We learned a ton about how generative AI works, how it can be used in real time for clinical care, and how we can measure and evaluate the technology. For example, we learned that pharmacists, nurses, and physicians all had different ways of utilizing the draft messages and had varying levels of value they derived from it. We also learned that time saved is not the only measure of importance — usability, burnout scores, technology support, and net promoter scores were just as important to study.

As we look forward into 2024, I'm eagerly anticipating the continued advancements and innovations of artificial intelligence in healthcare, envisioning a future where AI continues to enhance patient outcomes, streamline healthcare processes, and ultimately contribute to the betterment of global healthcare delivery. 

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars