Health Tech

AI 101: How healthcare employees are upskilling as hospitals upgrade

A ‘Digital U’ offers employees a chance to learn about AI, cloud, and other technologies becoming increasingly important to today’s hospitals.
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Francis Scialabba

· 3 min read

We all know that one show-off in college whose favorite prerequisite was, for some reason, organic chemistry II. Luckily, Cardinal Health’s Jerome Revish’s class of choice might be data-related, if he had to pick a course at “Digital U.”

Data, after all, powers many of the advanced gadgets he’s tasked with supporting, as senior VP of digital and commercial technologies at the Ohio-based healthcare services company.

The AI tool CORE, for example, relies on clinical and socioeconomic information to spot at-risk patients. Another American Gladiators-sounding device, VIPER, automatically matches cancer patients to clinical trials.

Cardinal-delivered classes like “A Beginner’s Guide to Data Analytics” exist alongside presentations in data literacy and data strategy—all offerings in the organization’s Digital U. Created in 2020, the collection of seven “colleges” includes emerging-tech topics that illustrate the changing healthcare environment, like cloud, information security, and analytics.

“In this evolving talent market, it’s important for us to continue to find ways to upskill and rescale. Because [of] the time that it takes, and also the cost that it takes, to go acquire new talent in a demanding market right now, you just can’t get talent fast enough to be able to keep up with competition,” said Revish.

According to Cardinal, at least 6,000 employees have completed the company’s “Digital Fluency” program.

Official intelligence. In its 2023 Tech Trends report, professional-services firm Deloitte noted that many organizations today offer development opportunities like mentoring and rotational programs, “to create fresh talent instead of fighting over a limited supply.”

“IT shops have been chasing after the mythical ‘10x engineer,’ these full-stack superheroes who can do all the things. Well, the problem is they spend so much time looking for the person, and then if they ever find them, they pay so much for the person, that here's the rub: The average emerging technology lifespan right now, per our research, is down to two and a half years,” Mike Bechtel, Deloitte’s chief futurist, told IT Brew.

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The technology healthcare environment is certainly changing quickly, thanks to the arrival of data automation and cloud services. Chatbots increasingly handle basic administrative questions. Electronic health records are frequently moved to the cloud.

New York-Presbyterian (NYP) Hospital uses AI-based technologies for a range of activities, from monitoring fetal heartbeat tracings to filtering phone traffic.

“[AI] has helped us see: What percentage of calls coming in are about scheduling? What percentage are about directions? What percentage are about our services? And it helps us structure our teams and business accordingly,” said Rick Evans, SVP and chief experience officer at NYP.

More than a century after clever medical professionals first thought to place medical schools next to hospitals, Peter Fleischut, chief information and transformation officer at NYP, sees the value of a new combination.

“Now, what we need to be able to do is put computer science experts and physicians together so that we can solve the next series of problems that we face in healthcare…That is going to be the new skill set that we’re going to need moving forward,” Fleischut told IT Brew.

Tech learning and medical learning: on one campus.—BH

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Top insights for IT pros

From cybersecurity and big data to software development and gaming, IT Brew delivers the latest news and analysis of trends shaping the IT industry, like only The Brew can.