The Promise of AI in Health IT

Cesar Tavares - Senior Director, Emerging Technology

Cesar Tavares, Senior Director, Emerging Technology Center of Excellence  

Health data, one of the most sensitive types of data on the planet, is being collected and ingested at a colossal level daily. As a result, government agencies need ways to discover, interpret, and use data much more efficiently to improve patients’ health. One leader in the emerging technology movement, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has turned to AI to accomplish much of what has traditionally been done on a smaller scale with greater degree of effort and time. Through their enterprise AI strategy, HHS has “set forth an approach and focus areas intended to encourage and enable Department-wide familiarity, comfort, and fluency with AI technology and its potential (AI adoption), the application of best practices and lessons learned from piloting and implementing AI capabilities to additional domains and use cases…and increased speed at which HHS adopts and scales AI.” They and other health agencies are making it clear they recognize the solutions are there and that Artificial Intelligence (AI), a key to modernization and automation, stands ready to harness.

The data management dilemma

The overwhelming challenge federal agencies like HHS have faced is that they are awash in data but are not always able to use it in support of the mission. Eighty percent of health care data is unstructured, in the form of doctor’s notes, medical test results, and images, making it difficult for traditional methods to manage. But agencies have learned that Natural Language Processing (NLP), Machine Learning (ML) and Deep Learning (DL), all forms of AI, are inherent allies in the effort to turn this data into actionable information for government and the public.

NLP is a technology used to aid computers in understanding human spoken language and turning that language into executable commands. This makes data searchable, discoverable, retrievable, and shareable by allowing the user to employ natural language as the primary mechanism for entering search queries. This form of AI makes systems usable and data retrievable to authorized users who have a simple question about specific data, so users do not require special training to find the information they need. NLP can also reduce the time it takes to locate data, important in the health sector, where speed and accuracy can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.

However, agencies and AI experts also recognize that traditional rule-based NLP approaches cannot read and interpret dynamic unstructured data without the aid of ML. Because reports, notes, and other unstructured data are created by humans with evolving language, the way the data is ingested and interpreted must always be adapting.

From interpreting handwritten medical records to making personalized health recommendations for patients to providing virtual care, AI can drastically improve health care by managing data in ways never imagined. HHS and other agencies have formed powerful partnerships and alliances to help develop these advanced solutions.

Collaboration, customization

Through HHS’ call for AI and requests we receive directly, Octo knows health customers are seeking tailored technology, not cookie-cutter software that fails to address the specific challenges faced by health agencies and organizations. To meet the need, Octo has invested millions in the R&D being conducted at oLabs™, our collaborative prototyping and experimentation space where we develop solutions for the Federal Government’s most complex mission challenges.

Staffed with industry and domain experts, academics, engineers, and AI specialists, oLabs is also a place where our clients and partners can collaborate on and test solutions. We work with customers to ideate, prototype, refine, and deploy AI solutions to solve the most difficult problems and meet the needs of end users, whether they be government stakeholders or the public. We have opened the doors of oLabs to the Federal Government technology ecosystem by giving access to our computational infrastructure and world-class talent.

By working hand in hand with our customers, we’ve seen AI’s transformational capabilities. We have developed prototypes and solutions that can solve even the most complex problems in data management. And we can tailor them to the needs of specific agencies and programs, empowering the Federal Government to meet their mission objectives.

When your agency is ready to realize the power of AI and address data challenges by developing emerging technologies using ML, NLP, and DL, schedule a demo. Email CTO@octoconsulting.com.