Healthcare Corporation of America (HCA), which operates nearly 180+ hospitals and is one of the largest healthcare entities in the world, announced today that it will be deploying generative AI solutions as a means to improve its care delivery models. To do so, the organization will be expanding its existing partnership with Google Cloud, which has been helping HCA advance its IT and data/analytics infrastructure.
The partnership has a significant amount of potential, as HCA’s vision for the technology is to truly help improve patient care, the clinician experience, and the overall care delivery process. This aspiration spans use cases ranging from alleviating burdens created for clinical staff by routine administrative tasks to re-envisioning the way medical documentation is generated.
As an example, HCA physicians have already started using Google’s AI technology in conjunction with Augmedix (an ambient medical documentation tool) and natural language processing to help generate documentation during/from physician-patient encounters.
Another important application is using the technology to help with clinical “handoffs,” which refers to the process of transitioning a patient’s care—either from one responsible caretaker to another (e.g., from a nurse ending their shift to the incoming nurse), or from one site of care to the other (e.g., transferring the patient from the emergency department to the inpatient floor). Studies indicate that the handoff process is one of the most critical aspects of a patient’s care journey, as it is often the period during which mistakes commonly happen. These mistakes are often unintentional; for example, providers ending their shift and handing off to a provider from the next/incoming shift may be fatigued or in a hurry, hence causing missed details or vital facts to be left out. Thus, approaching handoffs in a streamlined, consistent, and protocol oriented manner using AI could potentially help mitigate numerous patient safety issues.
HCA developed a tool using one of Google Cloud’s LLMs which helps automatically generate handoff reports. Prompts were developed to ensure that the LLM “[prioritizes] details, such as medication changes, laboratory results, vital sign fluctuations, patient concerns, and overall response to treatment.” Additionally, leadership worked with nursing teams to collect feedback and refine the product; after initial tests, nursing staff reportedly were “pleased with the speed, accuracy, and relevance of the draft reports” generated by the tool and “expressed high interest in putting the tool into practice.”
Dr. Michael Schlosser, Senior Vice President of Care Transformation and Innovation at HCA, explains that one of the keys to successfully implementing this technology will be to “keep the voice of the caregivers” central to the innovation, and really ensure that the end result is adding value to those that are actually using the product and ultimately providing the care.
Aashima Gupta, Global Director, Healthcare Strategy & Solutions for Google Cloud, explains that the size, scope and scale of HCA provides an incredible opportunity to truly create impact for many patients. Additionally, she mentions that “meaningful impact” in healthcare takes time and a “continued commitment to long-term growth.” This continued commitment and dedication has the potential to truly make a difference.
Both parties also agree that the use cases for this technology are numerous: from optimizing the handoff process to automatically creating discharge summaries, improving the electronic health record experience, and driving better insight generation from large data sets, the applications for generative AI in healthcare are endless.
Indeed, although the technology is still in its relatively early days, partnerships like these instill a sense of hope— hope that when two industry titans such as Google Cloud and HCA work together, meaningful change and truly scalable impact in healthcare can undoubtedly be achieved.