It’s been only five months since Microsoft-backed OpenAI launched its generative language tool ChatGPTand it’s been just one month since it released GPT-4the latest version of the AI model. Companies across the globe are deploying the technology and working to determine its best use cases — and now healthcare software giant Epic is welcoming generative AI’s entrance into healthcare by onboarding OpenAI’s services.
Epic is expanding its existing collaboration with Microsoft by integrating OpenAI services, such as GPT-4, into its electronic health record, the partners announced on Monday during the HIMSS conference in Chicago.
Microsoft’s OpenAI services are part of its Azure AI platform. These generative AI models can be applied to a variety of language use cases, from summarization to content and code generation, said Eric Boyd, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s AI platform, in a Monday interview.
In their announcement, Microsoft and Epic said this integration is meant to increase providers’ productivity, reduce administrative burden, and improve care by giving clinicians more time to spend with their patients.
“We see AI serving as a tool to help enhance and empower providers by bringing automation to complex workflows and mundane tasks, gleaning patient insights to enable clinicians to make better informed decisions and helping to support clinicians in delivering personalized patient care,” Boyd explained.
Microsoft and Epic have already begun piloting OpenAI services at a few health systems, including UC San Diego Health, YOUR Health and Stanford Health Care. These health systems have started using Microsoft’s technology to automatically draft message responses.
“We worked with these organizations to identify a small subset of users who have been given training and context to leverage this feature in production. The users are generally clinical informatics adjacent and/or clinical leads who see the promise AI has in shaping the future of healthcare and understand the considerations involved in being able to benefit from this technology effectively in these early phases,” Boyd declared.
As part of the expanded partnership, Microsoft will also bring its natural language queries and interactive data analysis tools to SlicerDicer, Epic’s self-service reporting tool.
This suite of analytics tools was designed to help physicians explore their hunches about medical questions as well as get answers about the operational efficiency of their hospital, Boyd said.
“These features make exploring data more conversational, from system-generated summaries of dashboards to a physician asking the system about the impact of chronic conditions in their local community using natural language queries,” he explained.
Microsoft has been working to strengthen its medical AI capabilities this year. Last month, Nuance, which is owned by Microsoft, announced that it was integrating GPT-4 into its clinical notetaking tool.
By expanding its partnership with Epic, Microsoft could soon make OpenAI services available to thousands of hospitals across the country. Epic currently owns the largest share of the U.S. acute care hospital market at 32.9%, according to KLAS Research.
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