In a recent engaging conversation, Kristin Myers, the Chief Digital and Information Officer at Mount Sinai, and Bill Russell, the curator of This Week Health, offered an illuminating perspective on the burgeoning role of Generative AI in healthcare. Their conversation peeled back the layers of the transformative potential of this technology and the challenges health systems may face in its implementation.
According to Myers, a significant part of health systems' digital transformation involves embracing transparency and enhancing patient engagement. She highlighted an interesting shift in patient behavior, noting that "many of our patients create spreadsheets and go to multiple websites and look at all the patient comments around the internet on a particular physician." Acknowledging this trend, Myers indicated that Mount Sinai is working on incorporating more patient feedback into their website to provide a more comprehensive and transparent view of healthcare providers.
The pair then turned their attention to the issue of cost transparency. "It's going to be a challenge," Myers admits. "We're lucky that we are an Epic environment, and so, they have tools that we're implementing that can show from insurance what the perspective cost will be." Yet, she also notes that this is less of a technology issue than an operational one. The health system must find effective ways to handle the surge in queries about healthcare costs, a shift that may necessitate considerable patient education and quick, efficient responses.
The future of healthcare, as per Myers, is undoubtedly entwined with Generative AI technology. She foresees the rise of APIs across healthcare products and the optimization of clinical workflows. "Look at even, we just talked about Epic and the clinician efficiency around administrative tasks," she says. "With the help of AI, generation of clinical notes, letters responding to patient queries is coming at us right now."
The impact extends beyond clinical tasks to research, too. With the integration of Generative AI with Azure, large language models could accelerate research, particularly in pathology, Myers suggested. She also predicted increased patient-facing chatbots and conversational assistants and a more straightforward generation of discharge summaries.
An unexpected discussion point was the role of platforms like Azure, Epic, and ServiceNow in healthcare IT. "We are platform first and unless there is a compelling case to be made for best of breed," Myers noted. This platform-centric approach helps create a more seamless employee experience, optimizes cost, and avoids unnecessary pilots that don't scale across the organization.
Myers's Chief Digital and Information Officer role is instrumental in leading Mount Sinai's digital transformation. She stressed that her department focuses on digital transformation, striving for a seamless experience within the organization. This trend seems to be gaining traction, with Russell noting that more and more organizations are merging the roles of Chief Digital Officer (CDO) and Chief Information Officer (CIO) for a more integrated approach.
As we navigate the post-pandemic world, the future of work in healthcare IT seems to be a hybrid model. Myers shared her experience at Mount Sinai, where she and her leadership team work in-office most of the week, offering a glimpse into what work might look like for many healthcare IT professionals moving forward.
The conversation between Kristin Myers and Bill Russell provides a comprehensive view of the current healthcare IT landscape and the transformative potential of Generative AI. From improving patient engagement to optimizing clinical workflows, it's clear that Generative AI has
a significant role in healthcare's future. As we continue to navigate this rapidly evolving landscape, conversations like these offer invaluable insights, helping healthcare IT professionals better understand and prepare for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.