Artificial Intelligence: The Promise and The Practice

BaseHealth is a data-driven, evidence-based, predictive health platform that optimizes health and disease management for member populations.

Each year at HIMSS, there is usually a single theme that ends up dominating the show floor. The ideas and topics of the show are diverse without doubt — there are sessions on everything from IT security to physician burnout, longitudinal care to blockchain — but each year there seems to be a single buzzword the industry converges on. This year, in the weeks leading up to the show, that theme is clear: artificial intelligence. Of course, any booths advertising machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, or neural networking will also count on your ‘HIMSS Buzzword Bingo’ cards.

The emergence of AI as the show’s hot topic is directly linked to the double-edged nature of the technology itself. AI is no longer a science fiction myth; we’re beginning to see real results from the application of AI-driven tools and technology in healthcare, but at the same time, there is still untapped potential for what these technologies can achieve. As the explosion of data in healthcare continues to grow, so will the potential of new technologies that help us harness that data. At HIMSS, vendors, providers, payers, and hardcore techies alike will be playing on this double-edged sword: what have we accomplished with AI in healthcare, and what more can we dream of doing?

Many of the ‘dreams’ showcased on the show floor will be just that — dreams. But some of the technology will be very real. Here at BaseHealth, we are in the business of applying AI with real results. Our analytic engine has leveraged AI to review over 150 million published, peer-reviewed research studies containing data on 70 million lives to map the cause and effect pathways for over 40 complex diseases. That means our technology can identify patients with underlying risk for these diseases, before the diseases present clinically. Healthcare professionals are applying our AI-enabled engine to improve care and reduce cost by identifying the unknown rising risk within a patient population (the “Invisible Patients”).

The AI landscape is crowded and full of buzz, but the technology at BaseHealth isn’t science fiction. Our engine can predict disease, and is currently in use, improving care and financial returns at Banner Health. The BaseHealth engine and its use cases are just one example of how artificial intelligence and machine learning are helping to improve care. We’ll see many more examples at HIMSS of how other healthcare systems are applying AI, and of how other vendors are leveraging AI in diverse solutions. From clinical documentation improvement to better workflows, patient safety to patient engagement, population health to chronic disease management, financial analytics to privacy, security, business intelligence, and more — AI is hyped as the ‘jack of all trades’.

The promise of AI is great, but be wary weeding out signal from noise on the show floor at HIMSS. And remember, AI in itself is not the answer to all of our problems in healthcare. Rather, it is a valuable tool in getting us what we really want — improved health and healthcare for all.

Learn more about the promise and the practice of AI in healthcare with our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Nick van Terheyden at HIMSS18 in a panel discussion on Thursday, March 8th at 11:00AM in the Intelligent Health Pavilion. Read more about AI & BaseHealth here.