'Be skeptical … but don't be cynical': How 4 hospitals use AI

Many hospital CEOs are finding new ways to use AI and encouraging colleagues to embrace positive changes.

In conjunction with its "World's Best Hospital's" list, Newsweek interviewed hospital CEOs from around the world to get their take on using AI in healthcare.

Here are four CEOs' takes on AI:

Mayo Clinic President and CEO Gianrico Farrugia, MD: "Healthcare needs to embrace artificial intelligence," and leaders should not hesitate to adopt AI tools. "If healthcare were perfect, we could afford to wait. Healthcare is not perfect; there's too much pain and suffering."

Dr. Farrugia said AI has advanced telehealth, "and now they're becoming part of the fabric of Mayo Clinic."

The CEO of the Rochester, Minn.-based system foresees and advocates for regulation around AI to deter harmful applications and set a path to more innovation. 

"Regulation is not simply to prevent bad actors from doing bad things but to give confidence to good people to do the right thing," he told Newsweek.

Farrugia encouraged other leaders to be "skeptical about AI, but don't be cynical."

UCLA Hospital System CEO Johnese Spisso, RN: "We want to be doing the latest and greatest, but we want to be doing it in the safest and the most thoughtful way. During the COVID-19 pandemic we went from like 1,000 telemedicine visits a week to tens of thousands a week. That's really here to stay. It's allowed us to continue to expand without adding more bricks and mortar."

The Los Angeles-based system has set up an advisory committee on AI, and Ms. Spisso said she will soon be hiring an executive-level position on AI health.

National University Hospital (Singapore) CEO Aymeric Lim, MD: "Every healthcare system in the world has the same challenges, which are rising costs, an aging population and a decreasing workforce. The only way that we can get around this is actually using AI, so, we have no choice."

Dr. Lim's hospital has established an office of innovation to help the staff become AI literate. "With respect to healthcare, AI is a quantum leap," he told Newsweek.

Cleveland Clinic CEO Tom Mihaljevic, MD: At Cleveland Clinic, AI has improved sepsis treatment by 40% and is helping physicians answer routine patient questions that come via email.

"Successful treatment of sepsis lies in early detection," he said. "The use of artificial intelligence helps us to summarize all the relevant data and helps us identify patients with the potential for sepsis much, much earlier."

During the early stages of the pandemic, Dr. Mijaljevic said Cleveland Clinic personnel were open about what they did and did not know about the illness. 

"The same principles apply to the implementation of new technologies as well, the principles of truthfulness," he told Newsweek.

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