Project Spotlight: Physician Wellness – Artificial Intelligence

March 8, 2024

A few pilots for our Physician Wellness program launched in February with select providers from BJC and Washington University to introduce Artificial Intelligence features into Epic. The Innovation Lab teamed up with Epic1 to improve physician wellness by easing documentation burdens. There are two different tools being tested as part of the pilot program, Ambient Notes and InBasket Generated Draft Responses. Each tool will potentially cut down the amount of time a physician will need to be working in Epic and allow them to be more focused on the patient.

Ambient Notes is a tool that works with Epic Haiku to listen to a provider’s conversation with the patient. The AI can filter the information it receives and turn the relevant parts of the conversation into notes for the physician. The AI has been trained to only take the healthcare aspects of the information and form it into a note. The goal is to shorten the amount of time a doctor is documenting after a visit with a patient.

In Basket Generated Draft Responses also work to shorten the amount of time a provider must spend in  the In Basket. This Epic functionality uses AI and language learning models to draft responses to Patient Medical Advice Request messages. When the doctor receives a new message, Epic and the AI can generate a response based on prompts that have been built by the Epic1 team and the physician champions. The provider can then review the response, edit, and send the message to the patient. The tool is designed to make time spent in the In Basket shorter, and also get quicker responses to patients.

The AI features in Epic are brand new in the healthcare sphere, with the first debuting in June 2023. The pilot programs give room for physicians to provide feedback to see where improvements are needed before moving forward with the new functionality. The program is small to start, with 30 providers being chosen to try Ambient Notes and 50 testing the In Basket Generated Draft Responses. The initial pilot will last about 60 days. There is a lot of excitement to see how these tools can evolve in the future as well. As these tools grow to meet providers’ needs, they will be able to spend less time in Epic and more time engaged with their patients.

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