By Jessica Kent
October 01, 2020 – Tufts Medical Center has announced a partnership with Olive to use artificial intelligence to streamline COVID-19 testing operations and improve the care experience for both patients and providers.
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Tufts will use the AI platform to automate high-volume, labor-intensive data entry and patient screening tasks. These new efficiencies are estimated to improve care delivery by making the in-person testing process up to seven and a half times faster, saving 86 percent of patient testing time that’s inflated by manual patient data entry.
Across the US, demands in COVID-19 testing are on the rise and healthcare organizations are working to gain access to necessary supplies and scale up testing operations. It’s becoming increasingly important for hospitals and health systems to have technological infrastructure that supports the efficient collection of patient data and entry of test information.
With this AI platform, Tufts will have additional support in scheduling, initial screening, and information entry steps – tasks that are typically performed manually. The health system will be able to expand testing capacity and address additional challenges as a result of the pandemic.
The AI tool will save clinicians up to 50 hours per day collectively in data entry, with an expectation that this number will increase as more tests are administered to the community.
Tufts Medical Center currently administers more than one in ten, or approximately 12 percent, of all COVID-19 tests in the Boston area. The organization has also processed more than 100,000 COVID-19 tests in total since the start of the pandemic.
“Part of our COVID-19 response includes making testing available to as many people in our community as possible – and a key component of that is leveraging technology to support frontline workers,” said Kristine Hanscom, CFO of Tufts Medical Center.
“We were looking for an AI platform to strengthen and connect the moving parts in our technology infrastructure as we continue to scale testing capabilities. An AI workforce will operate behind the scenes to manage data and information processing so our clinical team can be as agile as possible as they continue to focus on delivering world-class patient care.”
Based on the symptoms and health history patients report during their screening via a secure form on the Tufts MC website, the streamlined process will direct patients to the testing site or the emergency department. Patient screening and specimen data will then be entered into the Tufts MC system to update EHR records, automatically identify data inconsistencies, and deliver more accurate, timely information to frontline providers.
“Healthcare is facing incredible challenges, and Olive is here to help hospitals and health systems address them head on,” said Sean Lane, CEO of Olive.
“Whether it’s deploying our AI workforce to streamline testing processes, revenue cycle workflows or IT operations, Olive is committed to build lasting solutions across the enterprise. We’re honored to integrate our AI workforce at Tufts Medical Center, and proud to support our healthcare heroes.”
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations have turned to AI and data analytics tools to help manage surges in patient volumes. A team from Cedars-Sinai recently developed a machine learning tool that can forecast data points related to the pandemic and can predict staffing needs.
The platform can track local hospitalization volumes and the rate of confirmed COVID-19 cases, running multiple forecasting models to help prepare for increasing COVID-19 patient volumes.
“Our goal is to have the capacity and the right care available every day to treat the patients who need us, which fluctuates on a daily basis,” said Michael Thompson, executive director of Enterprise Data Intelligence at Cedars-Sinai, which developed the platform and runs the forecasts. “We need to match that daily demand with the necessary resources: beds, staff, PPE and other supplies.”