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AI: Healthcare’s Most Powerful Weapon
Ashley Mehta, CEO & President of Nolij Consulting

The Advent of the ‘Digital CRISPR.’

Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the workplace has transformed how healthcare professionals and organizations conduct daily operations. It has also brought significant improvements in patient care and outcomes while moving the needle forward in the prevention and treatment of diseases.

In short, AI makes it possible to crawl through massive amounts of data in minutes to make more informed decisions and keep healthcare organizations consistently ahead of the curve. 

Just as CRISPR is revolutionizing the future of healthcare in its ground-breaking ability to edit genetic code, AI delivers similar robustness to shape the future of the health IT space.  The capabilities it delivers are reinventing the ways we approach and manage diseases and chronic ailments while revolutionizing healthcare from the inside out. 

Data Analytics That Turn Patient Care from Prescriptive to Predictive 

It is often said that ‘prevention is better than the cure.’ This is exactly the way AI technology is being leveraged within the Health IT industry. Its ability to gather and analyze data expeditiously gives healthcare providers the power to catch abnormalities and act on them sooner. This enables healthcare providers to observe patterns in symptoms and diagnoses in near real-time and identify common trends across patients. 

For example, a group of mammogram images can be combined and analyzed to pull out key commonalities between them. These elements can help providers discern cancerous areas with high accuracy, which can speed the diagnostic process and improve patient prognoses. Similarly, AI is used to identify early signs of heart disease, where speed-to-recognition is critical in prolonging patient lives and outcomes. 

Providers no longer need to wait until the completion of long-term group research studies to act. The real-time gathering and analysis ability AI delivers, coupled with the results literally at your fingertips, is a game-changer for how patients are diagnosed, treated, and managed over time. 

This ability to learn from data is a key area where innovations in AI shine, as well as where the future of the healthcare industry is leading. 

Proof of Concept in Our Own Government.

AI technology also has the ability to achieve positive outcomes in healthcare operations management, which impact patient costs and care. In 2017, the Office of Management and Budget tasked federal agencies to submit reform plans to improve efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability in their programs. One healthcare institution was ahead of the game, as they had already embarked on a multi-faceted, department-wide transformation effort driven by AI.

A key initiative was launched to transform and modernize the way the department acquires goods and services. With more than $24 billion in annual spending, the healthcare institution saw an opportunity to leverage AI and an e-commerce solution to establish a cohesive acquisition structure across the department to drive better pricing, improve terms, and recognize greater economies of scale. These factors also shifted the focus of the healthcare institution’s procurement professionals to higher-priority, mission-critical work.  

Procurement is a time-consuming, arduous process and sometimes the overall cost and time invested are disproportionate to the benefits. The power of AI is being used to help healthcare institutions achieve their goals on an enterprise scale. Its capabilities allow users to combine natural language processing (NLP), deep-learning algorithms, and machine learning to scan millions of structured and semi-structured acquisition data from existing contracts. From here, the system can identify and categorize like items, compare pricing and availability, and confirm the most cost-effective procurement and delivery of key goods and services while cutting procurement time substantially. In this example, more than 97,400 contracts comprising over 1,000,000 pages were scoured and reviewed, yielding the following key results: 

– Automated external defibrillators that went from $2,627.00 per unit were now acquired for $946.00 yielding savings of 178%. 

– Finally, a substantial cost is remote conferencing via a platform that can handle up to 500 attendees. Here, AI was able to slash subscription costs from more than $18,000 per session to a vastly more affordable $4,309.00. The savings? About 322%. 

The Future is Riding on AI.

AI technology generates immense capabilities that change the way we approach healthcare, treat patients, and move forward as an industry. Predictive care that is able to begin at the helicopter or ambulance stage, before a patient even arrives at the ER, helps ensure treatment is as swift and laser-focused as possible. AI has significantly changed how healthcare professionals and organizations approach their day-to-day activities, and the impacts are massive. Patients will receive better care and live longer, we’ll learn faster about major diseases, such as cancer, and providers will be able to function more efficiently than ever before. It is an exciting time in the health IT industry, and the benefits of AI are just beginning to unfold. 

About Ashley Mehta

Ashley Mehta is the Chairwoman, CEO, and President of Nolij Consulting, a Woman-Owned Small Business located in Northern Virginia. Nolij is a solutions-focused Healthcare IT services company that specializes in digital healthcare modernization for the military, public, and commercial sectors. 

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