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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is having a dramatic impact on the healthcare industry. From how data-driven analytics and interoperability are revolutionizing patient care to the game-changing technology and trends impacting the industry, artificial intelligence is an inescapable topic today.
The demand for healthcare services has never been higher. An aging population, mental health crisis, and explosion of those with chronic illnesses have all strained the U.S. healthcare system to the breaking point. Yet, at the same time the need for healthcare is increasing, workers are leaving the profession.
“There is a projected shortage of more than 3 million essential low-wage health workers in the next five years and a projected shortage of nearly 140,000 physicians by 2033”U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
As a result of the shortage, a staggering number of frontline healthcare workers — including 50 percent of physicians — are experiencing burnout. Not only is burnout associated with lower quality care, it is also estimated to cost the health system $4.6 billion annually. Being overworked is bad for workers and is even worse for patients. In fact, 70 percent of those in the U.S. feel the healthcare system is failing them — we have a system of “sickcare” as opposed to healthcare.
A Silent Epidemic — Healthcare Worker Burnout
Frontline healthcare workers are the unsung heroes in the medical world, tirelessly providing care and support to those in need. However, over the last several years, they have faced challenges that extended far beyond their clinical duties.
With the aging demographic leading to a surge in chronic conditions, healthcare workers are finding themselves navigating volumes of patients and a relentless tide of medical issues. Coupled with a shortage of personnel, the workload of existing staff is amplified, leaving them overworked and fatigued. Additionally, the administrative burden imposed by paperwork, maintaining electronic health records, and navigating outdated systems exacerbates the strain, diverting time and attention away from direct patient care.
“According to a recent Journal of General Internal Medicine survey, approximately 53% of healthcare workers reported burnout, with the highest levels among nurses (56%) and other clinical staff (54%). The survey also indicated that many healthcare workers intended to leave their jobs within the next two years, with nurses showing the highest rate of intent to leave at 41%.”
Addressing these challenges is not only a necessity for the well-being of the workforce and patients but is also critical for the overall resilience and effectiveness of our healthcare system.
AI’s Role in Alleviating Healthcare Burnout
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is emerging as a promising tool to help alleviate frontline worker burnout. Its ability to leverage data and insights to automate, augment, streamline, and predict provides the innovative solutions needed to minimize exhaustion, restore a healthier work-life balance, and win the burnout war.
In the healthcare industry, AI is reshaping the way patient care is delivered, data is processed, and medical decisions are made. It involves the use of machine learning algorithms, predictive analytics and natural language processing to analyze large volumes of data, enabling healthcare providers to make more accurate diagnoses, predict disease outbreaks, personalize treatment plans, and improve patient outcomes.
AI is also central to automating and simplifying routine administrative tasks, patient encounter summaries, referrals, test pre-approvals, and more. This significantly enhances the efficiency and quality of healthcare services and frees frontline workers to spend more quality time with their patients. This makes AI an indispensable tool in modern healthcare, driving advancements in patient care, medical research, and healthcare operations.
As AI technologies continue to evolve, their integration into healthcare not only addresses current challenges but also holds the promise of fostering a more patient-centric, data-driven, and efficient healthcare landscape.
“AI can help automate routine, repeatable tasks so you can deploy your human resources where they are most needed. That type of automation is the long-hanging fruit AI can provide to help address turn-over rates and help reduce burnout.“Julias Bogdan, Vice President and General Manager, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS)
5 Ways Artificial Intelligence is Impacting Frontline Healthcare Workers
Here are some of the top ways AI-driven solutions are helping healthcare workers be more efficient, effective, and productive:
- Reduced Administrative Burden
A primary source of burnout stems from the administrative burden placed on healthcare professionals. AI technologies can streamline and automate routine administrative tasks, such as scheduling, referral management, and prior authorizations for tests. By deploying AI-driven workflows, virtual agents, and chatbots, healthcare workers can offload mundane inquiries and time-consuming appointment-related responsibilities, reducing their administrative workload and allowing them to focus more on direct patient care.
- Automated Documentation
The documentation process is a significant contributor to frontline worker burnout. AI tools can help simplify and streamline documentation processes by assisting in real-time summarization of patient encounters, which reduces the need for extensive manual data entry. Natural language processing capabilities allow healthcare workers to dictate notes, recommendations, and care plans, freeing them from the tedious task of typing and allowing for an easier and more seamless integration of information into electronic health records.
- Augmented Decision Support
Frontline healthcare workers are often faced with complex cases and myriad symptoms, requiring swift and accurate decision-making. AI-driven decision support systems can augment their clinical expertise, providing evidence-based insights and aiding in more efficient diagnosis and treatment planning. By harnessing AI to analyze patient data and medical literature, healthcare professionals can make informed decisions rapidly, reducing the time spent on manual data entry and analysis. This not only enhances the quality of care but also alleviates the cognitive load on frontline workers.
- Increased Diagnosis Accuracy
AI can also play a part in improving diagnostic accuracy, which can also help to reduce burnout. AI’s prowess lies in its ability to analyze vast amounts of healthcare data swiftly and efficiently, paving the way for more accurate and timely diagnoses. By leveraging machine learning algorithms, AI systems can discern patterns and anomalies in medical imaging, enabling early detection of conditions ranging from cancers to neurological disorders. There have been studies that have revealed a 50 percent reduction in missed rates when AI augments colonoscopy screenings, showcasing the potential for more accurate and timely diagnoses.
- Enhanced Preventive Care
AI’s predictive analytics capabilities offer a shift towards proactive healthcare, helping providers anticipate potential health risks and implement preventative measures and tailored care plans. As healthcare continues its digital transformation, the synergy between AI and medical expertise promises to redefine the standard of care, fostering a future where diagnoses are swift, accurate, and prevention takes precedence over treatment. With AI providing comprehensive insights to healthcare professionals, patients receive more personalized, timely, and effective healthcare interventions. For instance, a predictive fall score can help prevent falls among older adults, significantly reducing healthcare costs and visits to the ER for associated with fall-related injuries.
Win the Healthcare Burnout War with Hitachi Solutions
AI is a transformative force for the healthcare industry today, offering solutions that empower frontline workers and help reduce the impact of staff shortages and burnout. The strategic integration of data and AI is not just a technological upgrade but a fundamental shift toward a more patient-centric and sustainable healthcare future. Are you ready to embrace AI?
If so, Hitachi Solutions is the technology partner you can trust. We have deep expertise in AI, machine learning, natural language processing, advanced analytics, and other innovative solutions that help healthcare organizations gain the insights needed to make data-driven decisions, improve operational efficiency, and boost the quality of healthcare services.
From advisory services to data and analytics experience to Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare technology and solutions implementations, we provide end-to-end support for all your AI initiatives. Reach out today to learn more.