Edward Lee, MD, shares how innovation in AI can be used to improve health care

Edward Lee, MD

During a recent webinar reported in Chief Healthcare Executive, Edward Lee, MD, executive vice president and chief information officer of The Permanente Federation, joined other physician leaders to discuss the potential for artificial intelligence (AI) to transform care delivery and how Kaiser Permanente is already implementing this technology to improve care quality.

Dr. Lee, who also serves as associate executive director for The Permanente Medical Group, said he often refers to AI as “augmented intelligence” because he views the technology as a set of tools to assist physicians and enhance their ability to care for patients.

“It’s a lot like other ways that we support physicians with clinical decision support tools,” he said during the Permanente Live webinar hosted by the Federation. “AI just happens to be more advanced and more complex than other types of decision support.

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Kaiser Permanente already uses AI in a variety of ways, including analyzing which hospital patients need more intensive care and examining retinal images of patients with diabetes to determine if they are more likely to experience vision loss.

“This gives us a chance to intervene before patients get sicker,” Dr. Lee said. “The thing about risk prediction is it can affect not only individual patients … it can affect entire populations. We can positively contribute to the health of many, many patients.”

Even though Kaiser Permanente is already implementing this technology across the organization, Stephen Parodi, MD, executive vice president of the Federation, said, “Widespread AI use in health care is still in its infancy.”

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Dr. Lee added that AI’s effectiveness is limited when used by itself. “With all of these examples, AI is augmenting the care of our physicians and our teams and when combined with clinical judgment, we create the potential for significant improvement in outcomes for our patients, as well as efficiencies for our clinicians and our health system as a whole,” he said.

Note: To read the entire article see Chief Healthcare Executive, and related coverage in Fierce Healthcare and Healthcare Innovation.