Tag Archives: artificial intelligence

How Boston Public Radio reporters tackled artificial intelligence in health care 

Meghna Chakrabarti                                                                                Dorey Scheimer

WBUR radio host Meghna Chakrabarti was visiting her brother on the West Coast last summer, enjoying a glass of wine when he said he thought artificial intelligence was going to change civilization. While the two went on to discuss other topics, the idea stuck in Chakrabarti’s mind, and she and senior editor and colleague Dorey Scheimer started researching the topic. Their original four-part series, “Smarter health: Artificial intelligence and the future of American health care,” aired in May and June on the Boston-based program “On Point.” It’s well worth a listen (or a read, the transcripts are posted online, too).

Chakrabarti and Scheimer spent four months researching and reporting the series. They spoke with about 30 experts across the country, including physicians, computer scientists, patient advocates, bioethicists and federal regulators. They also hired Katherine Gorman, who co-founded the machine intelligence podcast “Talking Machines,” as a consulting editor. The result is an in-depth look at how AI is transforming health care while addressing ethical considerations and regulation of the technology, the people developing it, and patients at the receiving end.

In a new “How I Did It,” Chakrabarti and Scheimer discussed their reporting process and more. (Responses have been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.)

Continue reading

Artificial intelligence: a savior for overwhelmed health care personnel?

During the past two years and counting, hospital and health care staff have been overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic with droves of workers quitting their jobs as part of the Great Resignation. Could artificial intelligence (AI) play a role in helping fill some of the gaps? A recent flurry of stories suggests it could.

Hospitals such as Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles are turning to AI — computer systems or computerized programs that perform tasks normally done by humans — for help with assorted tasks, according to a story in Becker’s Hospital Review. Cedars-Sinai has employed twin clinical assistant robots to reduce nurses’ daily workload. The robots, which feature heart-shaped eyes that light up or make beeping noises, use AI, machine learning technology and social engineering to interact with clinicians and patients, performing simple tasks such as collecting medicine from the pharmacy. Within six weeks of their implementation last September, they saved clinical teams an estimated 300 miles of walking.

The technology comes at a pivotal time. Roughly 6% of hospitals (329 of 5,540) reporting staffing levels in the nation are experiencing critical staff shortages, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services posted March 2 and reported by Becker’s. Meanwhile, about 17%, or 950 hospitals, are anticipating shortages within the next week. The three states with the highest percent of hospitals experiencing critical staff shortages are South Carolina (26.67%), Kentucky (21.7%) and Nebraska (18.95%).

“Stress has become a serious issue for physicians in recent years,” Robert Budman, M.D., chief medical information officer at Nuance Communications, told Healthcare IT News, in an article on leveraging AI to relieve physicians. “First, physicians have to navigate how to get their clinical work done in a busy day. On top of that, there are administrative burdens placed on them by the government, insurance plans and employers. And then, there’s simply the crush that they are feeling with their workload being exacerbated by COVID-19.”

Some AI technologies can allow health care organizations to alleviate workers’ pressure by anticipating nursing or ED staffing needs, or predicting turnover of beds, or can help address clinical documentation frustrations, Budman said.

Continue reading

Think of artificial intelligence as city planning, not building construction, panel says

Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the hottest topics in health care and it has the potential to transform care delivery in hospitals, clinics and in the home.

The Health Journalism 2019 panel “Hope vs. Hype: Reporting on AI” offered some examples where AI is being applied to medical care today. It also tapped the brakes on some of the hype. Continue reading

Experts talk in D.C. about how to get past the A.I. buzz

Photo: Kimberly Leonard

Trying to write critically about a new use of artificial intelligence?

Start by asking your sources three questions:

  1. How far they are away from the point of delivery?
  2. How much data are they working with and what is the diversity or scope of the population the data was gathered from?
  3. And finally, what kinds of algorithms did they apply and what sorts of devices are they limited to using?

Continue reading

How machine learning and artificial intelligence might influence social determinants of health

Photo: z rahen via Flickr

This might not seem specific to social determinants of health, but machines that can be trained in health information may become gatekeepers of the future. If the artificial intelligence and medicine intersect successfully, the result could prove lifesaving for people whom social factors leave at a disadvantage. Continue reading