How Healthcare HR Can Use Artificial Intelligence to Improve Patient Care
Long a sci-fi dream, artificial intelligence is beginning to fulfill its promise in the business world. Artificial intelligence, also known as AI, moves tech systems beyond automation into performing tasks that have previously required elusive human factors — judgments about speech patterns, decision-making and so on. As technology advances, the development of AI represents a big opportunity for healthcare HR to play a strategic role in any healthcare organization.
“Everyone in the healthcare world should begin reading about AI,” says Aron Ezra, CEO of OfferCraft, which makes software that blends gamification with AI that can be used in HR. “Its impact will be felt more and more in the coming years.”
Here are some ways HR might use AI to improve patient care.
By Improving Diagnostics
Diagnoses often rely on judgment calls, and AI can help reduce that reliance, says Stephen Wolfram, Founder and CEO of Wolfram Research and Wolfram|Alpha, a computational knowledge engine. “I think the core of AI and healthcare is being able to really analyze vast amounts of data,” he says. “Being able to take that data and compute with it is what’s coming.”
The data that healthcare organizations gather can be used to help AI systems learn about and remember different ailments and patterns that show up across different patients, helping reduce mistakes and increase the accuracy of diagnoses. A data-rich item such as an MRI image is an application where AI can really shine, Wolfram says, as this kind of image provides a lot of information but relies on judgment calls from physicians and surgeons for diagnosis and a course of action.
By Making Training More Effective
Training, learning and development are among the biggest areas where healthcare HR leaders can use AI. "In a high-stakes environment like the healthcare industry, it is crucial for HR leaders to ensure that their employee evaluation, training, monitoring and communication tools are as effective as possible,” Ezra says. “Using artificial intelligence allows the HR team to augment each of those areas in previously unimaginable ways.”
For example, it’s possible to optimize training programs by using materials and courses that customize themselves to the learning style of individual employees or physicians, Ezra says. This adaptive approach can help employees finish modules more quickly and get the learning in areas they need.
By Helping You Hire the Right People
Hiring processes are ripe for improvement via AI. Talent management systems are full of the kinds of data AI can use to identify the best candidate for a position. While some talent platforms already have some early AI features, experts say many more capabilities are on the horizon.
“One way that AI can improve this is by providing better matching of candidates to jobs, allowing hospitals to find the right candidates more effectively,” says Peadar Coyle, a Data Scientist at Elevate Direct, an AI recruiting platform. Hiring organizations can pinpoint candidates who have a wide variety of highly specific qualifiers such as experience, geography and skills.
By Streamlining Processes
Healthcare organizations rely on processes and procedures, but humans can easily introduce errors into the system. AI can help identify those errors, as well as generate ideas on how to prevent and reduce future errors — often more quickly or accurately than humans. For example, AI can be used to monitor existing staff behavior and look for aberrations and trends in areas like appointment setting, billing and writing prescriptions, Ezra says.
This kind of work can help minimize risk — another big concern among healthcare organizations. Analyzing records and employee effectiveness will be a key function of AI, Coyle says, as it helps minimize compliance risk and risk of turnover.
By using AI, organizations can become more effective and efficient when finding new cures, caring for patients and employees, teaching staff and saving lives, Ezra says. In short, “AI is helping healthcare organizations do what they already do even better than before.”