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Generative AI in Health Is Here

Written by
Doug Fridsma
Published on

Generative AI is everywhere. According to the Deloitte 2023 Health Care Consumer Survey, health care questions are one of the primary reasons that individuals are using generative AI. Although no everyone has used generative AI technology like chatGPT, over 80% of individuals have at least heard of it.  Patients are using generative AI to learn about medical conditions, look at treatment options, and explore how to improve their well being.  Early surveys suggests that patients that stand to gain the most from the use of generative AI models are those that lack insurance, or have less access to health care resources.  

The government as well has taken notice of the potential for generative AI to be transformative in health care. The October 30, 2023 Executive Order on AI technology required the Department of Health and Human services to establish a task for to create policies and frameworks for the ethical and responsible use of generative AI. 

Consumers are using generative AI for health care questions. The government is moving to establish policies and frameworks for the use of generative AI. And those that can benefit the most are often those that have fewer resources.

For hospitals and health care providers, generative AI holds the promise to reduce provider burnout, increase efficiency, and improve patient outcomes.  But many healthcare organizations are not ready for generative AI – despite the widespread use of generative AI by consumers, and the widespread use of generative AI within their organizations, few organizations have a strategy or the infrastructure to address the potential risks of generative AI.  Some have taken a wait-and-see approach to using AI – relying on large vendors to provide direction and guidance for how best to use AI within healthcare organization. But organizations that can deploy and use generative AI solutions within healthcare environments stand to gain a competitive edge compared to organizations that wait. More efficiencies, better patient outcomes and improved quality will reward those organizations that safely and effectively can use these new technologies within health care settings. 

But we need to make sure that the use of generative AI does not increase the disparities between organizations that have access to large EHR vendors, and those organizations that use smaller, less expensive EHR vendors. If generative AI is only available through specific EHRs, it limits the innovation that can occur, and can potentially widen the gap between the haves and the have-nots.  And the patients who are most likely to benefit from generative AI solutions could be the very patients that do not have access to these tools. 

As we think about the promise of AI in health care, we need to make sure that there are ways to distribute and deploy these resources that is not reliant on large IT departments, or expensive EHRs. We need to make sure these tools get into the hands of small practices, rural communities, and underserved areas. We need solutions that can be easy to implement and deploy but still gives smaller practices access to the same cutting edge technology that bigger organizations can use. And they need to trust that the systems that they use are safe, effective, monitored and transparent. 

At Health Universe, we believe that technology should be an equalizer, not something that increases disparities between the haves and the have-nots.  It shouldn’t require a big IT budget, but it should take advantage of a community of similar organizations and their experiences. It shouldn’t be a black box, but should have ongoing, transparent monitoring to ensure safe and effective use of these tools. Ultimately, we believe in the power of the community of practice, transparency and monitoring, and innovation that is accessible to all. There is no need to wait for large EHRs to deliver on the promise of generative AI – the tools and resources at Health Universe can help even the smallest clinic advance the promise of generative AI.


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