Hospital Case Study

Two common characteristics of many hospital emergency departments today are their high level of human interaction and long patient waiting times

In a hospital emergency department, less waiting for better diagnoses and treatment

To achieve such outcomes, hospitals will need to make significant investment in automation technology, along with time and capital to train staff. They will also need to redesign process workflow. Doctors and nurses will have to become comfortable working closely with and trusting automated systems. Safety and liability are significant challenges in a sector where malpractice suits are common; in the United States, about $3.6 billion was paid out in malpractice suits in 2014, and artificial intelligence companies could find themselves on the receiving end.50 Stringent privacy regulations will need to be safeguarded. The emergency room is also a place where human unease with machines could be strong: people who come to hospitals for medical emergencies usually want and need to interact with qualified humans and may not feel comfortable with machines, however medically competent

To achieve such outcomes, hospitals will need to make significant investment in automation technology, along with time and capital to train staff. They will also need to redesign process workflow. Doctors and nurses will have to become comfortable working closely with and trusting automated systems. Safety and liability are significant challenges in a sector where malpractice suits are common; in the United States, about $3.6 billion was paid out in malpractice suits in 2014, and artificial intelligence companies could find themselves on the receiving end.50 Stringent privacy regulations will need to be safeguarded. The emergency room is also a place where human unease with machines could be strong: people who come to hospitals for medical emergencies usually want and need to interact with qualified humans and may not feel comfortable with machines, however medically competent

Hypothetical future state of a highly automated emergency department

  • Patients pre-register by mobile phone. On arrival, they are issued a wearable monitoring device that collects vitals
  • Triage nurses would be aided by automated fast diagnostics using blood and auto-generated reports on basis of vitals and tests
  • Lab tests would be automated, including report generation, for improved accuracy
  • Fully automated checkout including medicines, billing and issuing reports, or, in the case of hospitalization, bed assignment
  • Autonomous tugs can pull beds and bring medicines and instruments to the point of care. Drugs are dispensed by automated pharmacy
  • Algorithms recommend diagnosis and treatment to doctors and nurse practitioners
  • AI diagnoses and advice on complex and high acuity cases contribute to better outcomes

Potential economic benefits of automation

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