Subscribe for FREE to the HomeCare Technology Report to read my articles and the information from this long-standing publication serving home health, hospice, and private duty home care services.
Art by Heather Thompson 2023 using Midjourney GenerativeAI
"Healthcare is one of the most important fields AI is going to transform." - Google CEO Sundar Pichai
I continue to be struck by the speed and complexity at which AI processes information; it is truly remarkable and still advancing. As the potential of this emerging technology becomes more apparent, so do the risks. Recent news reports help underscore the importance of remaining vigilant about data breaches, bias, and ethics, to name a few concerns. Furthermore, we must take proactive measures to prevent harm as AI continues to learn and grow. Particularly in the healthcare industry, where privacy is paramount, we must fully comprehend the implications of AI on human confidentiality and take steps to safeguard it.
We are now generating an unfathomable amount of information in the form of AI-created images, content, decks, code, and more. Almost immediately, we have surpassed human learning speeds, and some suggest that we now need AI to process the volume of images and words produced by AI. Is this a good thing? That remains to be seen. What is certain is that the ability to discern truth, intrinsic value, and relevance has become an essential skill. Furthermore, the ability to manage the sheer volume of AI-generated information has become mission-critical.
Survive and Thrive - We Have Been Here Before
We are operating in uncharted waters, as AI holds immense potential but also requires cautious navigation. That said, it is comforting to know that "survive and thrive" is not new. Healthcare At Home providers have been dealing with change and information overload for decades. I have greatly admired the leaders in our industry as home care and hospice providers have consistently navigated through harrowing market shifts. Looking ahead at the AI revolution, it is essential to remember that we can rely on this historical expertise to guide us.
The new leader of the American Medical Association, Jesse Ehrenfeld MD MPH, recently spoke with Harvey Castro MD, MBA on LinkedIn Live about the importance of staying informed about emerging AI technologies. Ehrenfeld emphasized that AI should be used as a decision-support tool, with clinical experts driving the decision-making process. It's not just about using AI-generated results, but also about expanding our knowledge and understanding the processes that lead to different outcomes. Embracing AI's potential and incorporating it into our practices is crucial to staying ahead in the ever-evolving healthcare industry.
This is the triple challenge we face:
AI information overload
Making informed decisions, and
Avoiding the tendency to put it off until tomorrow.
Managing AI Information Overload
For executives in home health, hospice, and private duty care, staying informed about new developments in AI is vital. As we observe transformative shifts in patient care, diagnostics, treatment plans, and data management, we must manage the accompanying deluge of new information. As a healthcare futurist, having spent my career working to stay on top of emerging trends and disruptive innovation, agencies must make AI learning a priority. Accept that AI is with us. Once that foundation is set, the next step becomes clear - it is time to develop a strategy for staying informed.
Below you will find a few ways to go about keeping up to speed without falling into the abyss of AI. This will be an ongoing conversation in my columns, so consider this just a starting point!
Create an AI Task Force:
Given the significance and complexity of AI in healthcare, it would be beneficial to designate a dedicated AI task force within your organization. This team should comprise members with varying backgrounds and expertise, such as clinicians, data scientists, administrators, IT professionals, and ethicists. This group would track new developments, understand their potential implications, and determine how they might be integrated into your current practices. This concentrated knowledge hub can aid in effectively disseminating further AI-related information to the broader organization.
Acknowledge the Unknown:
Given AI's complexity and rapid evolution, it is vital to acknowledge that there is still much to learn. This mindset can safeguard against unverified claims or rushed implementation of new technologies without proper understanding or vetting.
Curiosity and Lifelong Learning:
Encourage a culture of curiosity and continual learning within your team. Attend workshops, seminars, and conferences dedicated to AI in healthcare. Utilize online resources like Coursera or LinkedIn Learning, which offer numerous courses on AI and its applications. Participating in professional networks and communities focused on AI can also provide valuable insights and updates. Be bold and ask seemingly obvious questions - sometimes those are the best!
Stay Connected with AI Innovators:
Following AI researchers, industry leaders, and relevant institutions on social media platforms can be a valuable way to keep up with the latest advances. LinkedIn is an outstanding resource. Many AI companies and thought leaders actively share their findings, tips, and discussions through these channels. Tim and I have dedicated the longstanding HomeCare Futurists Group on LinkedIn to discussing AI and The Agency of the Future. All are welcome to join. I also welcome connections on LinkedIn - My profile is https://www.linkedin.com/in/hlthomps/
Leverage AI to Understand AI:
Consider using AI-powered tools like news aggregators, content curation platforms, or personalized AI assistants that can help you sift through the vast amounts of available data. These tools can filter out irrelevant information, highlight key updates, and summarize essential points, easing the task of staying updated. But be careful of hallucinations!
Consider the Ethics:
As healthcare professionals, it is paramount to consider the ethical implications of AI. Given AI's potential impact on patient care, providers must understand and address data privacy, bias, and transparency issues. This should be an agenda item at every meeting and a commitment made by every person involved in AI within your organization. Just as we focus on patient privacy, we must recognize that AI will likely have unforeseen and unimaginable consequences. It will be a question of how we handle these issues when they arise.
While these are just a few ways of containing the flood of information inundating organizations about AI, creating a systematic approach to staying informed can make this manageable. The strategy is to remain proactive, cultivate a learning culture, and utilize AI to keep abreast of developments, ensuring that your organization is well-positioned to harness the potential benefits of AI in healthcare.
Ultimately, it's not just about treading water or even riding the AI wave but also about steering the ship, anticipating the challenges, and ensuring that AI remains a transformative force for improving patient outcomes and healthcare overall.
Staff Bio - Heather Thompson
Heather Thompson joined the Home Care Technology Report in March 2023 with a focus on Artificial Intelligence, Growth Strategy, and The Agency of the Future. Having earned her reputation as a Healthcare Futurist, Heather brings over three decades of experience in the healthcare sector. She has dedicated 25 of those years to home healthcare, delving deep into diverse domains such as business intelligence, technology, association management, provider consulting, sales/marketing/business development, strategic planning, financial management and more. Heather has also walked the path as a caregiver and a patient. This rich tapestry of experiences brings invaluable insight to her reporting.
However, there's more to Heather than her professional achievements. A peek into Heather's Story reveals her as an acquired savant and polymath. She is an internationally published writer, award-winning artist and poet, contemplative theologian, seasoned entrepreneur and a passionate advocate for disability and rare diseases. In her downtime, Heather finds solace in her serene mountainside home near Seattle, sharing her life with her teenage daughter, bulldog Iggy, cats Maximus and Buggs, and the abundant wildlife just outside her door.
To get in touch with Heather, you can reach out through:
1) Website CHAT
2) Website Contact Form
3) LinkedIn Messenger