'We have the technology to transform healthcare': Bold ideas from big systems

Digital transformation in healthcare made big strides last year as hospitals began to incorporate artificial intelligence into clinical and operational processes in a meaningful way.


Now, the largest health systems in the nation are focused on finding ways to optimize technology and leverage data to support the workforce, boost capacity and provide better clinical care.

"Our most important challenge is always how to best serve more patients while ensuring high quality and exceptional patient experience," James Terwilliger, president of the Puget Sound Market, Northwest Region of CommonSpirit Health, told Becker's. "In 2024, we are going to be very focused on finding ways to scale and accelerate innovation in how and where care happens. We have the technology to transform healthcare delivery."

Mr. Terwilliger pointed out CommonSpirit already exhibits high levels of patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes, and leveraging technology will help the system maximize capacity through staff deployment, resource flow, throughput and patient volumes.

Amy Perry, president of Phoenix-based Banner Health, is also excited about the potential impact of emerging technologies. Banner plans to make strategic investments in data, analytics, and automation to transform clinical care and improve consumer interactions.

"Coupled with Banner's care and coverage model, which combines our growing suite of health plans with our broad, integrated care network, these tools will give us the opportunity to further support health and wellness of the communities we serve," she told Becker's.

Joon Lee, MD, CEO of Emory Healthcare in Atlanta, told Becker's he is excited for technology-driven transformation in the coming year. Emory is leveraging technology to boost the workforce and alleviate the administrative burden of frontline workers with more automation. His goal is to reduce workforce turnover, boost recruitment efforts, improve working conditions for the frontline and lower labor costs.

"We are investing in more comprehensive and 'passive' technology such as ambient listening solutions, and not limiting it to just physicians, but exposing it to a broad spectrum of our workforce, especially nurses," he said. "As leaders, we must embrace these permanent changes in healthcare and aggressively apply technology solutions to create a thriving healthcare system."

Brian Adams, president and CEO of AdventHealth Central Florida Division, also sees technology and artificial intelligence as a way to lower the work intensity for clinicians.

"We're looking at how we can use thoroughly vetted and secure AI ambient listening tools to empower our physicians and advanced practice providers to spend more time interacting with and listening to their patients," he said. "When used responsibly, effectively, and with our expert clinicians and technology teams guiding the process, new AI technologies can revolutionize healthcare in a way that benefits patients, their families and caregivers."

The development, particularly in artificial intelligence, will continue to disrupt healthcare as we know it. The next generation of clinicians is highly interested in the best applications and driving innovation forward.

"The AI revolution in medicine is here, and we're (cautiously) excited to harness its power to help us train our medical students to be outstanding doctors," Mark Schuster, MD, founding dean and CEO of Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine in Pasadena, Calif., told Becker's.

His team is developing curricula based on large language models and neural networks so students can harness AI's potential and understand the limitations and risks as well.

"It's amazing to consider the ways that AI might transform healthcare — from taking notes in patient records to improving diagnosis and management plans to helping communicate clearly with patients — and we want our students to be ready to use it wisely," he said.

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