So much of a physician's workload includes repetitive, tedious tasks involved in researching diagnoses and analyzing patient data and imaging. On top of increasingly demanding administrative and regulatory burdens and electronic health records (EHR) hassles, it's no wonder physicians are burning out in record numbers.
Insurer UnitedHealth Group, which operates physician practices for more than 20,000 doctors through its Optum subsidiary, launched a program to help doctors quickly determine whether drugs are covered by a patient's insurance plan during the patient visit. It is also running a pilot program for Medicare plans in eight states to shrink the number of procedures that require prior authorization.
The report notes that more data can be generated than physicians can analyze and that AI can make use of techniques to help with interpretation of the data. For example, AI can identify matching images for X-rays for radiologists, saving time. AI can be used to improve searching tasks and the documentation process, both of which may be reasons for physician burnout. It is used in one hospital for deciding whether patients with liver cancer need chemotherapy or surgery. In addition, AI-based scheduling programs are being used, with benefit in places with a large number of physicians and ancillary staff.