Heard at HIMSS '24: How 12 healthcare leaders use generative AI at work

Generative artificial intelligence was the talk of this week's HIMSS 2024 conference in Orlando, Fla., with executives discussing their health systems' plans for the technology.

But how do healthcare leaders employ ChatGPT and similar platforms during their day-to-day jobs? Becker's asked 12 executives at HIMSS '24 how they've used generative AI at work. Here are their responses:

Crystal Broj. Chief Digital Transformation Officer of MUSC Health (Charleston, S.C.): Every day I'm on there looking up like, "How can I say this better so it sounds better?" Or "Take these three ideas and organize it in a certain way," "write a letter about this to someone," or "I have a job description for a change manager and I want to include this and this and this."

It's like having an intern, right? You could tell the intern to go do this stuff and bring it back but then you always have to look at it. You have to have that person in the mix: "Well, no, I wouldn't say that, or this isn't how I would word it."

Ann Cappellari, MD. Chief Medical Information Officer of SSM Health (St. Louis): Very recently, I had generative AI create a business document comparing a couple of different solutions. And it probably took an hour off my time in creating something immediately that would have taken me an hour or more just to look up what type of construct it is and how it should be and fill in basic stuff. I had to edit it a lot, but it still helped me immensely.

Eve Cunningham, MD. Chief of Virtual Care and Digital Health at Providence (Renton, Wash.): I am really having fun experimenting with Bing Image Creator. If you look at my LinkedIn, I have lots of posts where I created images with it.

I mean, it doesn't always get everything right. I did this one recently that was an OR setup, and it was just hilarious. I had to use it though, because it was just so cute. The camera doesn't quite look right. I don't know what that thing is — it's like an alien or something in the background. There's no port where the laparoscope is going in. But you know what, it was close enough.

Erik Decker. Chief Information Security Officer of Intermountain Health (Salt Lake City): I've asked it to help look at the tone of my emails. And it'll tell me like, "You need to change this or change that." And I do it. I do exactly what it says. And it's like, "No, you've got to change it this way." And I'm like, "I just did that." One time, I spent like five minutes writing an email and I was like, OK, I'm just going to send the email.

Stephen Dorner, MD. Chief Clinical and Innovation Officer of Mass General Brigham Healthcare at Home (Somerville, Mass.): I haven't used it in the workspace space yet, but I think there's a lot of interest. And it's cool. It's also a little strange, right? I've played with it for more personal stuff, things like "How can I set up my backyard?" It told me I should put a pond in my backyard. And my backyard is not big enough for a pond. It's not big enough for a pool, much less a pond. It has lofty goals. So maybe I should use it for work and see what it does.

Nick Frenzer. Population Health and Implementation Executive at Epic: When I'm trying to succinctly write something and I can say, "Here are the five points I want to get across," and give it a prompt, it gives me a good starting point. It's kind of similar to one thing we're doing for the providers with generative AI, which is proposing draft responses to patients.

Gary Fritz. Chief of Applications at Stanford Health Care (Palo Alto, Calif.): Our development group created an AI bot and search engine that allows you to use AI to reach into all of the Stanford internal knowledge resources. So we not only can go outside, we can go inside, which is really powerful.

Bill Giard. Chief Technology Officer of Blue Shield of California: We have rolled out Microsoft Copilot. That certainly is very helpful. Number one, we can turn it on and off depending on the nature of the meeting that we're having. So Teams has quite heavy usage, where you summarize actions, you're summarizing key insights. Sometimes you're busy and you join a meeting a few minutes late, and so you're getting caught up on the discussion that you've had.

One of the most surprising ones that we've had an uptick from our employee base is Copilot for internal document sharing — so its ability to actually comb through various different sets of documents on our internal loaded document repository, whether that's SharePoint hosted in Microsoft to other files, and being able to pull relevant pieces of information that you would normally search for. It does quite an adept job of finding and synthesizing information.

Sherri Hess, BSN, RN. Chief Nursing Informatics Officer of HCA Healthcare (Nashville, Tenn.): Bing has a feature where you can create pictures. I said, "Give me a picture of a nurse with a patient." I didn't really like that one. I said, "No, make it a female nurse. Make it younger. Give them a hat. Make it a sketch." You could do watercolor. 

And it made this sketch: The nurse standing there, the patient's in bed, and I'm like, "Nobody else has that." So I created an image in less than five minutes, as opposed to going out and looking for something or using one of ours. I put it on one of my PowerPoint presentations.

Bryan Sisk, DNP, RN. Chief Nurse Executive of Memorial Hermann Health System (Houston): Right now, I don't because we're still so early in vetting it. Some individuals use it for helping frame out different letters and stuff like that. I don't personally. But it's coming.

When you see some of the integrations that are on the horizon for Microsoft or calendar management, I think that's probably where I will end up seeing it.

Eric Smith. Chief Digital Officer of Memorial Hermann Health System (Houston): I've played around with ChatGPT. Not on our network. I have to do it outside of that because we block it, as you would expect. A lot of it for me is just research or how you create a policy around this or that, and use it as a starting point.

Brendan Watkins. Chief Analytics Officer of Stanford Children's Health (Palo Alto, Calif.): I use it all the time. I'm a ChatGPT subscriber. Just the other day I wrote a letter of recommendation for somebody who just has moved on to a different country and is a brilliant person. So I wrote the letter of recommendation, put it into GPT and said, "Hey, how would you improve this?" It has to come from my voice. So I looked at the rewrite, and I said well, OK, I'll take maybe 5-10% of that. And I rewrote it with it. It had a better use of language or a different perspective on things. So I incorporated that, very much as an augmentative tool.

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