How to Effectively Implement Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

How to Effectively Implement Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

In a time when nearly every technology vendor is touting AI-enabled products, it can be difficult to determine where to begin your AI journey. So, what are the key considerations that will help you take an impact-driven approach to AI implementation, providing both immediate and long-term value to your healthcare organization?

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN THE RIGHT AI & AUTOMATION VENDOR:

 

1) A focus on healthcare

Most AI technology is not designed for the unique challenges of healthcare. Look for a vendor that understands healthcare and provides the expertise to customize your AI and automation solution to thrive within your existing hospital processes, not add to them.

2) Put healthcare data security first

When you begin your AI journey, industry-specific regulations like HIPAA privacy rules and SOC2 compliance should be the least of your team’s worries. Begin your vendor security evaluation early to ensure your AI solutions can be built with the security complexities of your organization in mind.

3) A partner and trusted advisor

Your vendor should help your team develop a long-term AI and automation strategy focused on achieving the goals of your organization. This means finding a vendor that will educate your team about the tools and technologies available, and help guide your team through evaluation of candidate processes for automation that will provide the largest economic impact on your organization.

4) Driven to provide excellent support

Many AI and automation vendors do not offer support services that cover changes to the applications or updates to the processes you have automated. Ensure you’re covered for growth from the beginning by choosing a vendor that has a long-term strategy for technology integration – one that significantly lessens the burden on your employees and resources is minimized.

DURING IMPLEMENTATION

As you go into the implementation process, work with your vendor’s team to ensure all stakeholders understand the technology and level of engagement required for successful custom development of your AI technology. As you go through the development and implementation of AI, consider the following :

 

1) Start with the lowest hanging fruit

There are many processes that can benefit from AI and automation. As you begin, start with workflows that can leverage less complex technologies such as Robotic Process Automation and Computer Vision to provide value and return on investment quickly. These technologies are perfect for many revenue cycle processes such as checking the status of claims, eligibility and benefit verification, and more. Simpler workflows that provide high value returns lay a solid foundation to provide the business case for a larger investment in your long-term AI strategy.

 

2) Consider when the 80/20 rule applies

It’s possible to automate 100% of a process, however, you may see a diminishing return on investment if you automate the low-volume portions of a larger workflow. For example, checking the status of a claim often requires automating the action of logging into a variety of insurance portals. Instead of trying to automate 100% of the portals immediately, you may find more value in focusing on the 20% of the portals that account for 80% of the total volume as the first priority. You can always revisit workflows in the future if it becomes necessary or valuable to automate the remaining 20% of the volume.

 

3) Be engaged

Communicate frequently with your vendor team and be sure to ask for demos and updates to allow for feedback during the development process. Remember, you are purchasing AI to execute best practice processes. While the vendor should be delivering updates often, and have the technology and healthcare expertise to deliver an optimized AI solution, frequent evaluation and feedback will help ensure your AI is delivered quickly and successfully.


AFTER IMPLEMENTATION

Going live with your first AI or automation project is a big step towards your long-term AI strategy. You can expect improvements from immediate efficiency gains to reduced errors, to more time for your staff to focus on complex and important tasks. After implementation, it is important to understand the impact AI is having on your organization and use a data-driven approach to evaluate success towards your AI strategy goals. Collaborate with your vendor after implementation to:

 

1) Establish implementation impact

Work with your vendor to measure the impact of implementation on your business metrics. By comparing the data before and after the deployment of AI, you can evaluate its performance and use the data as a benchmark for what you can expect from other processes as you expand to new workflows. Focus on areas where you are able to evaluate hard data that can be compared directly (efficiency, error reduction, reduction in denials, etc.)

2) Think beyond the initial KPIs

Hard data only tells part of the story. Analyze the overall impact AI has made on the organization by looking at the downstream effects. Ask questions such as: Has AI met my expectations? Are there opportunities to expand workflows to add more value? What does the reduction in errors, decreased days in A/R, or decreased denials mean for the organization? Are we able to reallocate full-time employees to focus on other high priority initiatives? If we could replicate the same efficiency gains from process A to process B, C, D, E, etc. what would the impact be? Ask your vendor for support in helping you prove the value of your AI investment. The right partner will be there for you as a consultant and advisor, helping you to meet your AI goals.

Learn how to build the business case for AI and automation at your healthcare organization here.

Ethics in Artificial Intelligence

Ethics in Artificial Intelligence

As artificial intelligence and automation continue to advance industries from healthcare to financial services and beyond, there is a critical conversation happening around the ethical implementation of these technologies. At Olive, ethical considerations are at the center of everything we do.

Artificial intelligence already offers great promise to humanity – the possibilities range from improving operational efficiencies to predicting environmental threats to combating poverty. And it’s already proven to be a revolutionary tool in terms of optimizing burdensome, robotic processes currently done by humans on the administrative side of healthcare, proving AI can reduce the cost of care at a massive scale.

“That’s why we created Olive – to carve a trillion dollars out of the cost of healthcare, and increase the quantity and quality of human life. We think the best way to achieve that ethically is by scaling humans with AI. We’re able to accomplish so much more as a humankind with the assistance of AI in terms of providing better, more affordable healthcare to all,” – Sean Lane, CEO of Olive.

At Olive, we’ve already seen the workforce landscape fundamentally changing, because AI and automation are being used to supplement the work that our human employees don’t have time to get to. We call it “Shiftwork” because it’s the trajectory through which our jobs as human employees will evolve over time.

For the healthcare companies we’ve partnered with to deploy AI, we’ve already seen the landscape really start to change and human jobs begin shifting, as well. As their digital workforce starts to take over all of the robotic administrative work, it’s giving their humans the chance to handle tasks that require more of a human touch – like higher value claims and Quality Assurance, to name a few.

An ongoing conversation about the ethical implementation of AI stems from the fear and trepidation about whether or not AI will take human jobs. But that’s not what AI should be doing at all – AI is automating the most robotic tasks bogging down our most inundated industries, so humans can focus on more meaningful, human-centric initiatives such as patient care. For example, in Healthcare today, workers spend more time in front of screens than they do in front of patients, a real problem that AI can effectively solve.

“In the future, entire companies will be created with the intention of being staffed by a digital workforce. It will allow lots of new technology to emerge because the creation of new services and technology companies will be more accessible to more people, increasing entrepreneurship and expediting innovation. And Shiftwork means more than just new job opportunities and new tech companies, but possibly entirely new industries themselves.” – Lane

Another hot topic surrounding the ethics of AI is centered around governance. When healthcare organizations begin implementing AI, there are many things they must consider from how it will be used to how it will be managed. Which processes are the best candidates for automation? What security measures will be in place to maintain patient confidentiality?

How will you train your employees to refocus their time after AI frees them up for more meaningful work?

At Olive, we believe in the transformative power of AI and want everyone to experience its benefits, so we work hard to ensure it’s used responsibly. That’s why the questions above drive everything we do and shape the world we’re dedicated to building with artificial intelligence.  It’s also why we made Olive specifically for healthcare. Unlike other AI solutions on the market, Olive uses her healthcare-specific skills to address common bottlenecks – most importantly, she does it with unrivaled security measures built for healthcare, working seamlessly with common industry processes and technology.   

We also ensure our AI technology is only available to customers after understanding it’s potential use case. We also integrate our product development, sales and customer success teams in our considerations, allowing them to help drive the ethical use of artificial intelligence.  As the implementation of AI reaches critical mass, ethics will remain central to the conversation of how we “shift human work” from robot-friendly tasks to ones that require a human touch and human mind to improve the overall quality of human life.

Becker’s 2019 Trend Recap

Becker’s 2019 Trend Recap

We’re back at Olive HQ after an amazing few days at Becker’s 10th Annual Hospital Meeting, and we have to say, this was the most informative year yet. We attended over 30 sessions and spent time with over 250 healthcare leaders in Chicago discussing the biggest challenges facing the industry today, and one thing is clear – top hospital executives agree that healthcare is ready for meaningful change. So, what did these leaders have to say about the industry, artificial intelligence and the biggest challenges facing healthcare today?

Here are the key insights we identified from our conversations:

INSIGHT #1: HEALTHCARE IS RIPE FOR INDUSTRY DISRUPTION

The challenges healthcare organizations face are unique – like complex software integrations, overburdened staff, shrinking margins and increasingly strict security and compliance requirements. And as these challenges grow more complex, the industry is ripe for disruption. But where will innovative technologies have the biggest impact? Healthcare leaders believe the digitization of healthcare and the introduction of companies like Amazon and Google to healthcare will help reduce the burden of an extremely inefficient, bogged down industry.

As Amazon forms an independent healthcare company for its employees and Apple updates their App capabilities to display patient medical records, these advancements can only help streamline an industry that’s fraught with inefficiencies. Even Uber has entered the space, launching a ride-sharing program called Uber Health with sights on the $3 billion non-medical emergency transportation market. Although many of these emerging technologies are still in their early stages’, healthcare leaders predict that their prominence will only continue to grow in 2019. AI is also a driving force feeding healthcare industry innovation, allowing organizations to automate the most repetitive, time-consuming tasks. And although AI is already improving business operations inside and outside of the healthcare revenue cycle, the possibilities go far beyond that. With advanced computer vision, RPA and machine learning skills, AI will continue to transform burdensome healthcare processes and create opportunities to improve efficiency across the continuum of care. We’ll keep you posted about the most meaningful technologies as they continue to advance, and in the meantime, learn more about how AI can impact your organization. 

INSIGHT #2: COST CONTAINMENT IS A TOP PRIORITY FOR HEALTHCARE EXECUTIVES

Human capital is the highest cost driver in healthcare today. As annual expense growth outpaces the annual revenue gains, cost containment continues to be a top priority for  healthcare executives. That’s partly due to the fact that 1 of the 3 trillion dollars spent in healthcare each year comes from operational inefficiencies alone. A great example being the bottlenecks in registration and eligibility processes. Flaws in these processes are the primary cause of denials, leading a typical health system to risk $4.9 million annually.

So what did the leading experts at Becker’s predict would help solve these growing issues and help healthcare organizations do more with less? AI was certainly one of the big buzzwords flying around the conference floor, and with new technologies continuing to emerge to automate healthcare’s most robotic tasks, healthcare employees can finally begin to focus on what matters most. Experts expect AI for Healthcare IT application market to surpass $1.7 billion by the end of 2019, and through this automation, healthcare systems have already begun to optimize revenue and eliminate entire backlogs of work created by time-consuming, repetitive tasks that make up much of the administrative side of the business.  In turn, they’ve been able to reduce costly errors and take an impact-driven approach to AI implementation, providing both immediate and long-term value to their organizations.

INSIGHT #3: THE SHIFT CONTINUES TO OUT OF HOME CARE AND SURGICAL CENTERS

One of the big trends we heard discussed at Becker’s was the shift to out-of-home care and the rise of surgical centers. Jll stats claims that surgery centers have grown 82% since 2000 and predicts the trend will continue into 2019. And with telehealth technology moving far beyond traditional care systems, leading experts predict that this space will continue to grow by 30% and surpass $25 billion dollars by the end of 2019.

The increasing cost of care and aging populations facing chronic health issues are both leading drivers behind innovative digital health solutions like RPM devices, telehealth platforms and more. Through favorable reimbursement policies, digital health applications will continue to expand care delivery models beyond traditional hospital systems, innovating areas like behavioral health, digital wellness therapies, dentistry, nutrition and prescription management, empowering individuals to better manage their own health. Because home health clinicians are on the front lines with patients, gathering key information about their conditions and recovery status, they’re uniquely positioned to promote interoperability and ultimately the growing shift to out-of-home care in the industry.

INSIGHT #4: HEALTHCARE WORKERS ARE EXPERIENCING “DEATH BY A THOUSAND CLICKS”

A recent study of 1,750 healthcare leaders found that almost three-quarters of them feel some degree of burnout. While alarming, it’s not actually surprising, given most hospitals today are toggling back and forth between 10 or more various EHRs or EMRs, creating a “button olympics”  for their overworked employees – not to mention the resulting backlog of work and wasted resources. So, how are healthcare executives approaching the subject of interoperability and employee burnout while also optimizing revenue?

Today, studies show that 42% of respondents seeking new employment believe their job does not make good use of their skills and abilities. That’s why many innovative health systems across the country have already implemented artificial intelligence to take on the most robotic processes in healthcare and reduce employee burnout. AI has allowed these organizations to optimize their revenue recognition and take burdensome tasks off their employees’ “to-do” lists, reallocating their time to more human-like initiatives, not the repetitive tasks that make up much of the administrative side of healthcare. This is something the team behind Olive is particularly committed to. By creating the industry’s first true “digital employee,” we’ve already been able to help shift employees time from robotic tasks to improving patient care.  To learn more about how AI can impact your organization, subscribe to OliveReads.