Intelligent automation is quickly changing the landscape of healthcare, medical research, and health services by enabling the automatic classification, extraction, and enrichment of information. This is helping agencies provide a better experience for patients, cutting back on costs, and reducing turnaround time, according to Federal health experts at a FedInsider virtual event Oct. 28.

According to Dr. Niels Olson, Chief Medical Officer for the Defense Innovation Unit, machine learning (ML) and AI are already impacting public sector healthcare by making agencies more efficient through the use of intelligent automation.

“We’ve seen the use of intelligence automation to identify datasets needed to make important decisions regarding research and even public health services. Or the use of computer vision capabilities for radiology to identify abnormal chest x-rays,” Olson said. “These standardized processes can improve patient care and the development of clinical trials.”

Therefore, he added, it is essential to continue automation efforts to improve services, making them more efficient.

The Defense Healthcare Management Systems (DHMS) is currently working to fully deploy its MHS GENESIS, the new electronic health record for the Military Health System (MHS), to provide enhanced and secure technology to manage health information. It integrates inpatient and outpatient solutions that will connect medical and dental information across the continuum of care, from point of injury to the military treatment facility.

According to Chris Nichols, Enterprise Intelligence and Data Solutions program manager at the DHMS, the MHS GENISIS is less than 50 percent deployed. Still, the department expects that by February or March, that number will be significantly bigger.

Additionally, Nichols explained that before any automation, agencies must ensure that their foundational processes are effective. If it doesn’t happen before automation, the output won’t be efficient; it won’t work.

“We have to remember it all comes down to the fundamental. We need to build up the fundamentals. We need to build the right platforms to leverage information that is at our fingertips not just for patient care but to drive decision making,” he said.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.