Mayo Clinic assesses Google’s AI tool as it seeks more information from patient records

Mayo Clinic said it was evaluating a Google Cloud product that uses artificial intelligence to better track and analyze language information in patients’ electronic health records, such as doctor’s notes.

This technology, known as natural language processinghas made progress in recent years, experts say, although it remains in its infancy.

cloud unit is one of many technology companies investing and researching in this area.

Vish Anantraman, chief technology officer of the Mayo Clinic, said Google’s Healthcare Natural Language API could help clinicians find and access patient data much more easily, although he said Mayo was one. still in the early stages of testing.

About 80% of patient data in electronic medical records is unstructured, including transcribed reports and doctor’s notes, Dr. Anantraman said. Natural language processing allows the hospital system to transform data that is not organized into discrete fields into structured data, which means clinicians will have an easier time finding and analyzing it, he said.

Once the patient data is structured, the hospital will be able to find ideal patients for clinical trials and run various types of predictive tools that look for indicators that certain patients might be at higher risk of contracting certain diseases early on, Dr. Anantraman said. This type of work was possible in the past, but required a lot of human involvement, he said.

Vish Anantraman, Chief Technology Officer of Mayo Clinic.

Photo:
Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic has used natural language processing tools to index unstructured information from medical records in the past, but Dr Anantraman said Google technology is more scalable and would allow Mayo to do this more accurately. and efficiency.

“We just have a lot of data that’s not accessible and locked down because it’s in an unstructured format,” Dr Anantraman said, adding that the data is now much more accessible.

The application of AI to healthcare has met with varying degrees of success, complicated by factors such as access to population-reflective patient datasets, the lack of healthcare expertise of the share of technology vendors and hype.

International Business Machine Corp.

decision to sell assets of its Watson Health business, which billed itself as a way to help doctors diagnose and cure cancer, highlighted the challenges various AI healthcare tools have faced try to make an impact.

Yet the trillion-dollar healthcare industry remains a key target. Tech companies point to ongoing investments in AI products, advances in technology and natural language processing in particular, as well as partnerships with hospitals to collaborate on tools.

” We think [natural language processing] is the next frontier in healthcare,” said Aashima Gupta, director of healthcare solutions at Google Cloud, adding that the pandemic has increased healthcare providers’ appetite for technology.

Stephen Messer, co-founder and vice president of Collective[i], an AI company focused on optimizing the sales process, said the natural language processing technology has gone from “laughable to mind-blowing in the span of two years.” He said that’s mainly because the AI ​​has started training on bigger and bigger datasets.

Microsoft Azure Text Analytics for Health and

Amazon

Web Service’s Amazon Comprehend Medical also continues to roll out new features for its natural language processing for healthcare offerings. Microsoft Corp. completed its acquisition of IA voice recognition company Nuance Communications Inc. earlier this month. the Newspaper reported earlier that Nuance could strengthen its healthcare offerings.

Andrew Ng,

An AI expert and CEO of start-up Landing AI, said he sees more AI pilots in healthcare that are paying off.

“There are exciting examples where this work can make a difference, but these ideas will take years to catch on,” he said. “I think we are still many years away from being mainstream. »

At Houston Methodist Hospital, Director of Innovation

Roberta Schwartz,

said she was working with Amazon on voice technology that transcribes doctors’ conversations with patients, translates that conversation into notes, and then translates those notes into discrete fields in the medical record.

“It’s getting there,” Dr. Schwartz said. “We’re not throwing in the towel because we think it’s the future. »

Carlo Bifulco, medical director of genomics at Providence, said he was optimistic about the possibilities of this technology to affect patient care.

Providence and Microsoft have been partners since July 2019 and have developed cancer-specific natural language features that use Microsoft Text for Health analytics.

“Things are continuously improving,” he said.

“I think the results are very promising,” Dr. Anantraman of the Mayo Clinic said of Google’s trial. “I would refrain from saying that it is spectacular. »

write to Isabelle Bousquette at [email protected]

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Mayo Clinic assesses Google’s AI tool as it seeks more information from patient records


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