Google Announces Healthcare-Specific Artificial Intelligence Tools

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Key Insights

  • Google has announced two new artificial intelligence (AI) tools designed specifically for healthcare.
  • The tools analyze unstructured digital medical text to find insights, reduce manual work, to reduce “capturing errors” and physician burnout.
  • Centene recently agreed to acquire Apixio, an AI and healthcare analytics company, for an undisclosed sum.

Google Announces New AI Tools Designed for Healthcare

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Google has launched “a suite of fully-managed AI tools designed to help with these challenges.” This suite includes the Healthcare Natural Language Application Programming Interface (API) and Automated Machine Learning (AutoML) Entity Extraction for Healthcare.

The first of these tools is designed to analyze “unstructured digital text — that is, content lacking metadata that can’t be mapped into standard database fields.” Accessing this information requires manual review of the documents by a healthcare provider. However, the new API “identifies medical insights in documents, automatically extracting knowledge about medical procedures, medications, body vitals, or medical conditions.” The feature also standardizes and graphs medical information, which can “drive operational efficiencies in document-review workflows.”

“For healthcare professionals, the process of reviewing and writing medical documents is incredibly labor-intensive,” Andreea Bodnari, Product Manager, Google Cloud, noted. “And the lack of intelligent, easy-to-use tools to assist with the unique requirements of medical documentation creates data capturing errors, a diminished patient-doctor experience, and physician burnout.”

The machine-learning tool complements the API by providing “an easy-to-use AI development platform that broadens access to AI across users with various technical backgrounds.” This feature utilizes an open-source format, which allows for users to contribute “to the refinement and expansion of these guidelines to mirror the ever-evolving nature of healthcare.”

The Future of Healthcare & AI

These new tools from Google add to a growing body of advanced AI capabilities. This technology can improve workflows and collections. As Stacy Lutz, Senior Vice President of Product Engineering, Privia Health, noted in a blog post on robotic process automation (RPA), automation can reduce “administrative burdens to physicians who are already experiencing burnout rates as high as 46 percent and leaves room for human error. Accurate coding is critical because it ensures proper payment for physicians and the creation of a valid record of patient care history.” Additionally, RPA and AI can assist with patient scheduling and check-in, inventory and claims management, and more.

AI is an essential component of healthcare today — and will be even more so moving forward. This potential is evidenced by Centene’s recent acquisition of Apixio, which offers “AI healthcare analytics solutions [to] enable fast, accurate, cost-effective reviews.” Similar to new Google AI tools, Apixio analyzes “unstructured patient data (such as physician notes and medical charts)” to “support payers’ and providers’ administrative activities.” These solutions highlight how AI can improve the patient experience by improving diagnostics and health outcomes while preserving physician autonomy.

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