Artificial intelligence and its impact on health care

Outside Bridgeport Hospital, in Bridgeport, Conn.  April 13, 2017.

Outside Bridgeport Hospital, in Bridgeport, Conn. April 13, 2017.

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media

From GPS to our smart TVs, smart locks, video doorbell surveillance systems and the social media platforms we constantly follow and use, artificial intelligence or AI has become an integral part of our daily lives. AI is the science of using technology to automate tasks normally performed by humans. It is changing our homes and has a profound impact on our industry.

In the healthcare industry, AI is used in many ways, simple and complex. Data mining, analytics and machine learning have enabled pharmaceutical companies to develop new treatments and vaccines. Wearable virtual assistants keep patients safe in their homes. New technologies and applications have enabled professionals to accurately diagnose patients, communicate, coordinate care, and implement treatment strategies in real time.

While AI can provide valuable insights and help us deliver better care, the care we provide requires emotional impact and the human touch, neither of which can be replaced by technology. Conversely, one of the benefits of AI is that these new tools and technology allow us to spend more time with our patients, providing care that is critical to their safety and healing.

If you’re at our Bridgeport campus, you’ll likely encounter our TUG robots. Initially, the machines will automate the transportation and transport of certain samples between the ED and the lab, but eventually they will be posted in-house. Robotic technology allows our nurses, techs and other care team members to stay in the room where they are needed most. Robots may not advance healing, but they may be able to support staff and patient safety.

In addition to TUG robots, we have incorporated AI into the healthcare environment by monitoring our patients remotely. A vital tool during Covid, the new home hospital program and a monitoring device to help prevent falls among at-risk patients have recently been rolled out by alerting staff to patient movements.

These few examples only show how technology and systems can support our efforts to reduce the potential for error and injury. Most importantly, AI will reduce some of the burden on our staff and leave more time for teams to focus on activities related to direct patient care and ensure optimal outcomes.

We always rely on our employees whose experience, knowledge, judgment and human touch are irreplaceable.

Anne Diamond is president of Bridgeport Hospital.

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