Category: Whole Person

The Growing Role for Automated Health Care

Among our doctors’ most prized relationships are those with their patients. At Attune Health, we want to know not just how you are feeling, but how you are doing.

While we are fortunate to be able to spend time getting to know our patients, busy hospitals and clinics across the country aren’t so lucky. And many of them are overwhelmed by large numbers of low-income, low-education patients who need more time than a busy clinic can offer.

A New Yorker article out this week examines a remarkable artificial intelligence program developed by Northeastern University computer scientist Timothy Bickmore to help low-income patients prepare to go home from the hospital.

Piloted at Boston Medical Center, the program operates as a computer-generated female nurse that slowly and patiently interacts with the patients, even asking about their favorite sports teams, before going over their medication and follow up care.

“This is a highly innovative experiment that highlights a potential role for AI in managing our patients better,” said Attune Health’s Dr. Swamy Venuturupalli.

It was meant to be almost a patch in the healthcare system, a way to help people who needed more than what the medical center could provide. Instead, according to the article, Bickmore found that 74 percent of patients preferred speaking with the AI nurse because she was patient and they could take their time to understand their medical care and what was expected of them.

“The striking thing about this study was how easily patients would express their deepest thoughts to a computer, but in my own practice, I have to eke out every last detail from a patient,” Venuturupalli said. “This study highlights the potential to use technology in powerful ways to achieve results for our patients. The dangers of discussing personal information with computers cannot be overstated, and clearly we will need to find a balance between utilizing technology for benefits and minimizing harms.”

Medical technology is exploding in every direction, offering seemingly endless possibilities to improve and enhance patient care.

At Attune Health, we are working closely to bring virtual reality as a pain management technique to the clinic after a successful pilot program last year.

We are always on the lookout for new and smart healthcare tech to bring to our patients, and we love hearing these success stories from across the country.