Can AI fill workforce gaps left by the Great Resignation? 

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The year 2021 saw hordes of workers quitting their jobs in search of a better work/life balance, better mental health and higher pay, and the healthcare industry was no stranger to this trend. But AI may offer solutions to ease the strain on understaffed hospitals, according to some experts. 

AI can help bridge the gap left by the Great Resignation by easing the workload of medical professionals and streamlining workflows, according to John Frownfelter, MD, CMO at clinical AI company Jvion. 

"You create capacity for your staff, when you have them freed up from doing things that can be automated," Dr. Frownfelter told Becker's.

A client who used AI software to make telehealth calls shrunk call times from 45 minutes to 15 whileretaining care outcomes, Dr. Frownfelter said. 

Some health systems already are embracing this innovative technology. Los Angeles-based Cedars-Sinai is using AI robots to reduce nurses' workloads. The robots can complete short tasks like delivering samples for analysis or fetching medication from the pharmacy. According to their news release, within six weeks of introducing the clinical assistant bots, clinical teams have saved 300 miles of walking. 

"They not only provide an opportunity to improve workflows and be more efficient, but they're a fun thing to see around the halls. They feel very future-forward," Melanie Barone, RN, associate nursing director at Cedars-Sinai said in a news release.

Pittsburgh-based UPMC is also using AI to improve patient outcomes and reduce staff workloads. Machine learning and whole genome sequencing are being used to prevent hospital-based disease outbreaks, according to the health system. 

Dr. Frownfelter also sees the potential to improve health equity through the use of AI. 

"AI is going to identify patients that we otherwise wouldn't think of, and it helps to identify problems," he told Becker's.

He emphasized that AI will not replace human thinking and approaching care of patients, but it can help redirect the attention of overworked healthcare professionals and ease their workload. 

"We have to get over our fear or discomfort of AI. It's time to leverage where it can be valuable today," he said. 

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