How to Improve EHR with the Help of AI
Electronic health records (EHRs) are useful, but did you know that they could be even better?
It’s true. But usually, this improvement isn’t a solo effort.
Artificial intelligence (AI) could provide the tools your practice needs to fully use and appreciate your EHR. Here’s how.
First and foremost, electronic health records are records that contain data.
Despite all their potential applications, EHRs are worthless if medical providers aren’t able to access the data within them.
Different software systems incorporate artificial intelligence in different ways. Some use machine learning (ML), a component of AI that uses algorithms and technologies to locate patterns and develop determinations.
Researchers have found that processing EHR data could help machine learning systems recognize and use such information.
For example, ML tools could use algorithms to find and analyze information about social determinants of health, which are environmental conditions that could influence people’s health, well-being, and quality of life.
Finding data is important. So is documenting it.
After all, if medical practices don’t record information, it’s very difficult, even impossible to use. Professionals won’t know where their patients are in their treatments, won’t be able to reference data in the future, might end up repeating their work, or might unintentionally do things that hurt patients because they lacked any warnings.
Some EHR systems use AI speech-to-text (also known as speech recognition) functions. Speech-to-text tools convert language spoken out loud into written language on a page.
AI and EHR tools might record interactions between medical providers and patients. The AI applications automatically add information into the patients’ records even as their conversations continue.
Such recording processes gather and store information, enabling practitioners to use it in the present moment and in the future. By shifting some work to technology, it also eases notetaking and paperwork burdens and could help prevent professional burnout.
Recorded conversations also provide other benefits.
They ensure accuracy. Clinicians could check recordings to learn what patients actually said during their appointments instead of trying to construct their conversations from their memory.
It works the other way, too, as professionals could study recordings and transcripts to see what they said and did (or didn’t say and do). This could motivate them to contact the patients again and take further action.
Using AI to record conservations and gather health data compiles data directly from patients with no one in between. Such direct contact eliminates the possibility that people mishear, misunderstand, or misrecord vital health information.
Recordings from appointments might also contradict other information in patients’ files. If there are differences, medical professionals could correct inconsistencies in patients’ records or investigate if there are issues they need to address further.
Incorporating AI in EHR systems could also create customized solutions for specific practices and issues.
Customization is necessary in so many aspects of the medical field. Doctors receive different kinds of training, work with different types of conditions, and prescribe different kinds of treatments.
Using one type of EHR system–or one type of anything–for every kind of medical practice isn’t practical. So customized solutions incorporate AI, EHR, and other tools for specific instances.
One study used an AI model to group patients who were experiencing the same disease in similar ways and then analyzed patterns in their treatments and outcomes.
After that, the model compared the groups with similar disease experiences to specific patients, which helped predict how different treatments could determine possible outcomes.
This study used AI to predict the success of certain drug regimens for people with type 2 diabetes. It helped select medications for the majority of the study’s patients, even if they required multiple medications. Since EHRs list medications, conditions, and other health information, combining them with AI could help providers access, store, retrieve, and apply pertinent data.
AI tools and EHRs could do more than predict treatment success. They could also diagnose conditions and predict their progression.
As with other AI applications, diagnostic models use algorithms. The algorithms could compile patients’ symptoms, asking why the symptoms are occurring and which conditions could be causing them.
By using existing data from patient records and knowledge about conditions, the AI tools could help doctors make quick, accurate diagnoses. This diagnostic ability could be especially useful in remote situations or areas that don’t have enough doctors to see patients in-person.
Predictive models could help medical professionals:
- Make educated guesses about the probability of conditions and determine if they should conduct additional testing.
- Only test patients at high risk of developing certain conditions.
- Determine whether to begin treatments, use different approaches, delay care, or study the cost-effectiveness of certain types of treatments.
Professionals could use EHR and AI tools to make predictive models that analyze different outcomes.
EHR and AI aren’t static entities. People are wondering how to improve electronic health records and their applications and are working to produce these changes.
Including speech-to-text functions is one such way. So are EHR AI tools that try to predict the way people think and use information.
It’s not science fiction or a Big Brother scenario. Researchers have developed a program that functions as a smart EHR system.
When a medical professional types a word such as “cancer” into the system, this information will be linked to other relevant information, such as lab results, prescriptions, and data from other records that could help the practitioner learn what’s happening with the patient.
By seeing the big picture of a patient’s health, a practitioner has quick, easy access to information that could help them diagnose, understand, discuss, and treat.
AI and EHR could also help patients learn and decide.
Being diagnosed with cancer or another life-changing condition is scary. AI tools could help patients determine if they’re likely to develop certain conditions and how well certain treatments would treat them.
Patients would have more data at their disposal. Such information could help them decide if they want to undergo tests, submit to additional tests, or attempt certain treatments.
With AI tools, patients have more knowledge, which could help them obtain more agency over their health. This confidence could provide hope and strength, assisting them mentally during a challenging time physically.
Artificial intelligence and electronic health records could help medical professionals and patients. Contact us, Eye care leaders to learn about EHRs and how they don’t just store information but transform it.
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