Nurses are the backbone of nearly every health system in the U.S. They are often the first line of treatment before a doctor’s care, and arguably have a more frequent and prominent role in patient interaction and administration. This is why, at the turn of another technological boom in healthcare, nurses are crucial for the expansion and integration of AI utilization in hospital systems.
It is predicted that by 2026, AI-based healthcare technologies will see over $40 billion in spending according to a MarketsandMarkets report posted last year. These high-stakes investments call for a complete shift in the way hospitals are managed and operated, the way EHRs are stored, and how patient care is administered. Because nurses are at the forefront of many of these processes, AI software developers are looking to them for guidance, criticism, and innovation, to aid in the implementation and success of AI technology systems.
Currently, one of the biggest flaws in AI integration according to nurses, is the inefficiency of data access, which tends to create burnout and fatigue among nursing staff. Victoria Tiase, Director of Research Science at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and a member of the American Medical Informatics Association Board of Directors, explains that, because nurses are the most frequent users of EHRs and hospital data systems, having effective AI algorithms in place to aid in their work is the key to integration.
“We need to move toward predictive and prescriptive analytics so we can get to the point where we’re influencing decision support by providing recommendations about interventions for a particular patient or predicting a patient’s risk for a negative status.” Tiase said.
Another key aspect of nurses’ approval of AI integration could also have to do with identifying potential biases in the system and working around it. Because machine learning is still a relatively new technology, there have been some recorded biases across AI algorithms as a result of limited data reporting for underrepresented patients. Nurses are often the first people patients see, and often hold a responsibility for conveying information and organizing staff objectives indirectly. Many have a sense of responsibility to ensure a smooth passage to treatment regardless of race, sex, or other factors, and because of this, hold new data sharing technology to high standards.
It seems, the key to getting nurses on board for AI integration in healthcare is to provide ethical and easy-to-use technology which can aid in finding solutions without creating more potential problems.