Healthcare Technology News

October 10, 2023

Mercy and Microsoft Tap Into Generative AI for Patient Care

Traditional methods have served as the foundation of healthcare for decades; however, there are limitations and bottlenecks associated with such approaches.

Traditional medical research and drug discovery processes are time-consuming and expensive. Identifying potential drug candidates or conducting clinical trials for new treatments may take years and cost billions of dollars. Traditional medical diagnosis and treatment planning heavily rely on the expertise of healthcare professionals, which can lead to variability in care quality and potential diagnostic errors. Traditional methods of data analysis often struggle with handling the vast amounts of medical data generated daily. The sheer volume of patient records, medical images, and clinical notes can overwhelm manual analysis and make it challenging to extract meaningful insights efficiently.

To overcome those limitations, Microsoft and Mercy have forged a long-term collaboration using generative AI and other digital technologies to give physicians, advance practice providers and nurses more time to care for patients and improve the patient experience.

The Mercy network is a comprehensively integrated, multi-state healthcare system encompassing more than 40 hospitals offering acute care, managed care and specialized services such as heart, pediatric, orthopedic, and rehabilitation care. Additionally, Mercy boasts a wide network of convenient urgent care facilities, advanced imaging centers and pharmacies to serve the needs of its diverse patient population.

As Mercy's preferred platform for ongoing innovation, the Microsoft Cloud provides the health system with a trusted and comprehensive platform to improve efficiency, connect and govern data, impact patient and co-worker experience, reach new communities and build a foundation for ongoing innovation.

Mercy intends to leverage the Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service, and patients will benefit from a more comprehensive understanding of their lab results and be better equipped to engage in informed discussions regarding their health with healthcare providers. This will be facilitated using generative AI-assisted communication, which will empower patients to receive answers in clear and conversational language.

Mercy also plans to integrate generative AI into its patient call handling processes, particularly for tasks like appointment scheduling. In addition to handling the initial call, the AI system will provide recommendations for additional follow-up actions to ensure that all the patient's needs are addressed during a single interaction, reducing the necessity for subsequent calls.

Additionally, a chatbot designed for Mercy employees will serve as a resource for accessing essential information related to Mercy's policies, procedures, and HR-related inquiries such as benefits and leave requirements. By streamlining the process of locating information, particularly for nurses and other colleagues, this AI-driven tool will enable them to allocate more of their time to delivering patient care.

"Because of all the investments we have made together with Microsoft in the past few years, including the use of Microsoft's secure cloud, we are better positioned to perform real-time clinical decision-making that ultimately improves patient care," said Joe Kelly, Mercy's Executive Vice President of Transformation and Business Development Officer. "With Microsoft, we are exploring more than four dozen uses of AI and will launch multiple new AI use cases by the middle of next year to transform care and experiences for patients and co-workers.”

The collaboration represents what's next in healthcare for applying advanced digital technologies to the delivery of care to consumers.

Be part of the discussion about the latest trends and developments in the Generative AI space at Generative AI Expo, taking place February 13-15, 2024, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Generative AI Expo discusses the evolution of GenAI and feature conversations focused on the potential for GenAI across industries and how the technology is already being used to create new opportunities for businesses to improve operations, enhance customer experiences, and create new growth opportunities.

Edited by Alex Passett
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