Skip to main content

Artificial Intelligence in the Healthcare Arena: Implications for Emergency Medicine

This is really interesting. Elon Musk has another company called OpenAI, an artificial intelligence company. OpenAI built a neural network that was designed to teach *itself* how to play a very difficult video game and then the AI played against the best players in the world on stage in front of millions of people. 

What’s really interesting is that the AI used strategies that the humans had never considered and could not even initially understand. 




The implication for the ER is really interesting. Optimizing ED workflow is really a “game” in the same sense - you have two teams (providers/nurses/techs vs patients), with limited resources and functions, and each side has specific goals (for patients it is to get out quickly and have their healthcare issue resolved, for hospitals/doctors it is to keep the patient alive and get them out as quickly as possible by using the fewest resources). 

Imagine if somebody created a video game that mimicked the people, forces, goals, and parameters of the emergency room, and then created an AI bot to play it, in order to figure out the best strategy to "win." That strategy could then be studied and learned from by humans.

For those who are naive to the challenges of Emergency Medicine, here are some of the huge problems in our specialty:

1. How should one staff?

How many doctors and APPs (Advanced Practice Providers, i.e., physician assistants) should you staff and at which hours? It depends on the volume and acuity of patients coming in, but you can't predict that accurately enough, so your best guess is usually based on averages seen in previous months and years.

However, if you staff for the average, you'll be understaffed 50% of the time (putting people's lives at risk), and overstaffed 50% of the time (wasting money).

2. Should you have more doctors, or more APPs, and in what ratio?

APPs are less expensive than doctors, but need oversight and have a reputation for ordering too many tests (although there are plenty of doctors who are guilty of that as well).

3. Should you pick up the next new patient, or discharge one of the patients who is ready to go?

This is a fascinating question that requires knowing a few other variables to solve properly (Single coverage site? Acuity of the next patient? Other doctors twiddling their thumbs?)



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Mastering Medicare Cheat Sheet

Amy Schiffman and I have created an awesome 1-page Medicare Cheat Sheet. You can get it for free by joining the Mastering Medicare subscriber list . Here's a sneak peak

Dr. Alex Mohseni invited to speak at Brault’s Healthcare Leadership Forum about the future of Emergency Medicine services and how ED groups can adapt using telemedicine.

  Dr. Mohseni presented on the topic of how Emergency Medicine groups could expand their scope of practice to the virtual space to and how to do so in a financially viable way.

MasteringMedicare Episode 14: Hospice and Secrets of the Hospice Industry published!

In this Mastering Medicare episode we do a deep dive into Hospice with our guest, Cathy Gurson.  She teaches us everything we ever wanted to know about Hospice. Here are some of the topics we cover: How do people get referred to hospice Hospice is covered 100% by Medicare part A What does hospice cover How to get Part B medical care covered while under hospice Hospice reimbursement model Hospice per diem Three levels of hospice care Pier diem changes at the higher levels of care For profit vs non-profit hospice Hospice certificate of need requirements What questions you should ask about when interviewing a hospice CHAP certification for hospice Transitioning - what does transitioning mean in the context of hospice? How to know when a hospice patient is dying Does hospice pay for food and nutrition Tube feeding hospice patients Measuring mean arm circumference (MAC) as a measure of nutritional decline Who is making the hospice recertification? Hospice patient’s relationships with their