It seems the question on many people’s minds of late is, will my job be replaced by artificial intelligence? While for some, the answer may be yes, for most, the answer is likely to be no, especially in the healthcare field.
Human-agent teaming will prevail
The more plausible scenario is human-agent teaming, which will pair human intelligence with artificial intelligence, leveraging the strengths of each.
The concept of human-agent teaming has actually been around for several decades. The unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV, is typically cited as the first known example. Developed by the United States Air Force in 1918, the UAV was used primarily for reconnaissance missions. Operated remotely, it enabled pilots to collect intelligence at a safe distance from hostile territories.
Remembering The Six Million Dollar Man
In the 1970s, television shows like The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman portrayed people who gained superpowers after receiving bionic implants. They were part-human/part-robot. The concept of human-agent teaming isn’t too far afield, except it doesn’t involve body parts. It encompasses the notion that human intelligence plus artificial intelligence is accretive, much like the adage “two plus two equals five.”
Human-agent teaming won’t make us part-robot, but it certainly has the potential to give us mortal superpowers that make us more productive, more capable and happier in our jobs.
Less tedium, more fulfilling work
Let’s say, for example, you are a medical billing specialist. Chances are, you spend up to two-thirds of your day on the phone to payers trying to get information or resolve problems, with much of that time on hold.
You may need to verify benefits, secure a prior authorization, request an EOB or inquire on the status of a claim. You’ve probably memorized most every prompt of payers’ interactive voice response (IVR) systems. However, you have little to no control over the number of calls you make or the number of hours required to complete them. More importantly, you have no other option.
What if you could offload that phone work to artificial intelligence? What if an AI virtual agent could make those calls for you, interact with IVR systems, even talk with payer representatives? Better yet, what if an AI virtual agent could take comprehensive notes, draft narrative summarizations and store audio recordings for your review?
Sound far fetched? This scenario is not only feasible, it’s already in operation.
Many voice AI use cases
The use cases for this type of voice AI, also known as conversational AI, are vast. Voice AI is already being widely used in healthcare:
- Clinical Diagnosis – Voice AI is being used to analyze patients’ speech patterns, with the aim of detecting anomalies associated with certain medical conditions, such as depression, dementia and Parkinson’s disease.
- Medical Transcription – Voice AI is being used to transcribe physician-patient conversations and generate encounter notes.
- Medication Adherence – Voice AI is being used to send reminders that help ensure patients take their medications in a timely manner.
- Patient Monitoring – Voice AI is being used to remotely monitor patients’ vital signs.
- Language Translation – Voice AI is being used to translate communication between patients and doctors who speak different languages.
- Medical Education – Voice AI is being used to provide interactive education for patients, caregivers and clinicians.
Purpose-built ally, not adversarial
At a time when the vast majority of people are just beginning to hear and learn about artificial intelligence, it is critical that technology executives make a concerted effort to reinforce its purpose and intent.
Artificial intelligence is not designed to be adversarial. It is meant to be an ally, to co-exist in a way that elevates our lives and livelihoods. It is already proving to be of tremendous value within the healthcare field, and there are many more exciting developments on the horizon.
Photo: Gerd Altmann, Pixabay