Ochsner Health, a nonprofit health network in New Orleans is launching a pilot program in which it will integrate Microsoft’s Azure Open AI technology into its patient response service.

Thet program utilizes generative artificial intelligence to draft «simple» messages to patients. AI will prepare responses to patient inquiries unrelated to diagnoses or clinical judgments, which will then be reviewed and edited by healthcare providers before being sent to patients.

In the initial phase, about a hundred clinicians within the New Orleans-based health system will participate.

Ochsner is among the early adopters of Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI Service, which integrates with the Epic electronic health record. The health system plans to test the messaging feature in three phases and gather patient feedback for improvement.

The goal of these AI technologies is to reduce administrative tasks for healthcare providers, such as responding to patient messages or documenting visits, as clinicians often spend significant time on EHR-related tasks. Last year, Ochsner received over four million medical advice requests through its patient portal. Ochsner’s Chief Application Officer, Amy Trainor, stated that AI aims to help clinicians respond faster to patient messages, allowing patients to receive answers more quickly while allowing clinicians to focus more on direct patient care.

Each phase of Ochsner’s pilot program will involve different physicians, starting with primary care and internal medicine clinicians who receive the most messages. Some experts express concerns about the rapid deployment of generative AI in healthcare, particularly related to accuracy, liability for errors, and the potential for AI to perpetuate biases and healthcare disparities.

Article written by Emily Olsen|Image by Pexels



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