Physician burnout Rx: AI tools
As technology continues to advance and become more prevalent in medicine, some physicians argue that it is contributing to growing rates of physician burnout.
In particular, increasingly complex electronic health records (EHRs) have been cited as a major source of stress for doctors, taking them away from direct patient care and increasing after-work paperwork.
The COVID-19 pandemic only increased digital demand on physicians. One study found that patient messages increased by 57% during the pandemic and has remained there ever since.
Physician burnout from poor digital infrastructure has led many to quit while others are advocating for digital minimalism in medicine, urging healthcare providers to reduce their reliance on technology and streamline their workflows to reduce the documentation burden.
In recent years, there has been a surge in the development and implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies in the healthcare industry – everything from surgery planning to virtual reality training simulations.
GlassAI is addressing physician burnout by offering clinicians a chatbot service intended to help guide their diagnosis and treatment plans.
They are part of a new crop of AI-healthcare companies that want to leverage AI’s language processing capabilities to introduce a range of tools that will help physicians tackle EHR burdens by scribing medical notes, come up with diagnoses options, and help to execute a treatment plan.
The is remarkably similar to ChatGPT, but its “intelligence” is limited to a “human-curated textbook written by a team of 30 clinicians and clinicians in training,” which Glass Health argues makes the system reliable and safe.
“We’re working on doctors being able to put in a one-liner, a patient summary, and for us to be able to generate the first draft of a clinical plan for that doctor,” says founder Dereck Paul. “So what tests they would order and what treatments they would order.”
Overall, the system is intended to bring efficiency to the Byzantine EHR practice that burdens clinicians and takes them away from patient care.
“The physician quality of life is really, really rough. The documentation burden is massive,” says Derek Paul, creator of Glass Health. “Patients don’t feel like their doctors have enough time to spend with them.”
In theory, AI tools like GlassAI could streamline patient care by making faster diagnostic decisions, creating lab requisitions, and patient referrals, and making reminders for follow–up. Its ability to streamline a physician’s day-to-day workflow is similar to the way AI virtual command centers are helping hospitals streamline their patient fluxes and workflow on a mass scale.
These command centers use AI technology to monitor patient health data and alert healthcare providers to potential issues before they become critical. The virtual assistants can also help to coordinate care between different departments and providers, reducing the risk of miscommunication or errors.
Studies show that Americans are “uncomfortable” with the idea of AI in their healthcare, but it looks like the future is changing with or without patient approval.
“We finished January with 2,000 monthly active users, and in February we had 4,800,” said Paul. In March, thousands more signed up.
Another interesting possibility of this type of AI application in medicine is how it will affect the American public, of whom so many struggle to obtain basic healthcare and often must delay treatments and care due to cost and of whom so many are taking healthcare into their own hands and personalizing their healthcare experience.
“Consumers have so much information now at their fingertips that they’re empowered to find their own solutions and make their own decisions. That previously has been more in the retail sector and other areas, but it’s quickly moving into healthcare,” said Kristina Dover, chief marketing officer of Chesterfield, MO. “Having all that information readily available to them so they can make those best decisions and feel that they’re empowered to make the decision is going to be where marketing goes, has to go.”
The basic version of GlassAI is free and requires no medical professional verification other than checking a box in the sign up process, which brings to mind: is this the natural evolution of WebMD?