Here’s how AI could help Utah healthcare workers

May 18, 2023, 6:00 AM

AI healthcare could be the next big thing....

Artificial intelligence service ChatGPT is pictured on a computer in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023, in this photo illustration. (Spenser Heaps/Deseret News)

(Spenser Heaps/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Burnout has been a real challenge for healthcare professionals since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. One thing that started changing during the pandemic is the meteoric rise in the number of digital messages from patients. Here’s where artificial intelligence, or AI, comes in. 

Craig Richardville, the chief digital and information officer with Intermountain Health, says there are two parts to this.

One is the need for virtual appointments during the pandemic, Richardville says the other “is just people getting more comfortable with using that technology in general.”

Leading cause of burnout

The in-basket “is just a tremendous wear upon the staff and the provider,” Richardville. “It’s one of the leading causes of burnout.”

Intermountain Health leaders met this week to talk about how they can tackle the burnout problem and what role AI might play to help copilot that effort.

“AI will play a big role in not only anticipating the questions when they come into the inbox,” Richardville said, “but also start to generate responses for the provider. And all of that is based on science.”

Will artificial intelligence replace doctors?

“Artificial intelligence will not replace physicians, but physicians who don’t use artificial intelligence will be replaced,” Richardville explained.

Where else will we see AI implemented in healthcare?

“I think the question is really where won’t you see it,” he said. “You go back to robotic surgery, which isn’t necessarily AI, but it is using a machine to assist and be more precise.”

Combatting loneliness with AI? It may be a slippery slope

Richardville believes the use of AI should be investigated fully.

“It’s just a matter of prioritization and where we’ll get the largest return for our patients and communities.”

ChapGPT passed the medical licensing exam

Before people worry too much about AI functioning as an assistant to healthcare professionals, remember ChaptGPT passed the medical licensing exam.

“AI is learning,” Richardville emphasized. “It’s like me and you. I am a student for life.”

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Here’s how AI could help Utah healthcare workers