“Now is the time to harness the power of Artificial Intelligence in healthcare” declared Dr. Erik Eskioğlu, an aerospace engineer, turned neurosurgeon, turned MBA graduate. Dr. Eskioğlu, the Chief Medical and Scientific Officer for Novant Health and esteemed Board Member of the Digital Health Institute for Transformation (DHIT) delivered a powerful sermon at our 5th anniversary happy hour event hosted at the newly opened Novant Health Innovation Lab in Charlotte, North Carolina on Wednesday afternoon. Content included the damaging effects of inefficiencies in nursing, the current state of Artificial Intelligence in medicine, and an optimistic perspective on the role of Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, and Predictive Analytics in the future of healthcare for more efficient medical delivery for clinicians and improved health outcomes for patients.
According to Dr. Eskioğlu, a nursing crisis is plaguing the United States with 100,000 nurses under the age of 35 departing the field in the last calendar year alone. Dr. Eskioğlu highlighted former Vanderbilt University Medical Center nurse RaDonda Vaught who was sentenced to three years of probation after being convicted for criminally negligent homicide and impaired adult abuse for mistakenly administering the wrong medication that resulted in the death of a patient in 2017. He remarked that such a mistake underscores the current nursing crisis, where most of the time and energy of nurses is dedicated to administrative tasks rather than patient care, increasing the likelihood of patient morbidity and mortality. Dr. Eskioğlu noted that “up to 50% of a nurse’s time is spent on documentation with another 25% spent on hunting and gathering equipment and medication, leaving only 25% of a nurse’s time actually spent on patient care.” Such deficiencies in patient-clinician interactions are inadequate for improving patient outcomes, improving clinician retention, and defragmenting the healthcare industry.
However, according to Dr. Eskioğlu, Artificial Intelligence modules like natural language processing, data aggregation, and machine learning are of paramount importance, now, and can aid in clinician retention and productivity while improving patient health outcomes through task automation. “In my father’s day, medical knowledge doubled every 100 years,” commented Dr. Eskioğlu. “Today, it doubles every 72 days. By 2025, it will double every 30 days. Humans can no longer keep up.” Additionally, such AI learning processes can aid in the construction of more comprehensive electronic health records. Such records can enable a patient’s entire health biosphere to be accessed, in perpetuity, by any care provider across a broad health landscape. Advanced AI modeling can effectively fill in the gaps of these records using powerful predictive analytics and machine learning to create actionable health insights based on historic patient data. This promising technology can help with improving the fragmentation of care and diagnostic issues that plague the US health system. However, these processes must serve all patients. Dr. Eskioğlu commented that “the basic premise of democracy is equal and equitable access to health and it is time we take care of our underserved communities” by focusing on the social determinants of health, and instituting unbiased, robust data sets for algorithm modeling.
“Now is the time for action!” he concluded. “We must activate our digital health ecosystem to create actionable responses to the growing demand for digital health solutions in our communities.” Join DHIT in our mission to engage across communities to promote digital health transformation and provide equal access to global advancements in care. We look forward to connecting with you soon at our next event!