Artificial intelligence (AI) has been trending recently for its abilities across many industries though AI is unlikely to replace human professionals any time soon. While AI is well-suited to tracking and managing large amounts of data, its ability to make executive decisions or do creative problem-solving has yet to reach the level of its human counterparts. 

However, in fields like healthcare, artificial intelligence can still play a transformational role in the manual and administrative tasks people find burdensome and time-consuming in their professional work. That means that AI is the perfect partner for healthcare professionals and those in their care in the long term.

Medical liability refers to the potential for harm caused to a patient by their healthcare provider. If there is a causal connection between the actions of a healthcare provider and the damage inflicted on their patient, providers can face penalties doled out by the relevant governing body under the law. These penalties can be financial or criminal or involve a suspension or cessation of professional practice for the medical provider or employee involved.

A healthcare professional accessing AI data.

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How can healthcare providers avoid medical malpractice suits and other forms of liability? Legal experts put documentation and recordkeeping at the top of the list. Fortunately, this is one area where AI tools perform exceptionally well.

Liability for Medical Professionals: 3 Ways AI Decreases Risk

Medical professionals need to back up their decisions and take action to the best of their knowledge and abilities to avoid liability claims. 

That means keeping accurate records, adhering to timelines, and preventing delays that lead to suboptimal patient care. There are three primary ways AI can help medical professionals:

1. Accurate record keeping

Healthcare professionals generate a vast amount of data: everything from patient records to treatment plans, lab results, and testing requisitions must be filed and stored.

Traditionally, this data has been kept in paper files or electronic health records (EHRs), which can be thousands of pages long. This results in thousands of hours (or more) of manual processing for medical record review. It can also leave you at risk for liability related to errors and omissions of important medical information, as accuracy at this level of manual workload is difficult to maintain.

With artificial intelligence, healthcare professionals can automate collecting, storing, and analyzing this information. Automating the recordkeeping process reduces the risk of errors and omissions impacting liability and makes it easier for healthcare professionals to retrieve patient data when needed. 

Unlike the automation tools of the past, AI keeps a ‘human in the loop’ of the medical documentation process: files can be summarized, organized, indexed, and stored automatically while medical expert analysis is left to the (human) healthcare team.

2. Secure file storage

Cyber-attacks affected almost half of Canadian small businesses in the past year. With so much sensitive patient data on the line, cybersecurity should be taken seriously, especially in healthcare. 

AI tools mitigate this risk by safely storing digital files while maintaining HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliance and ensuring paperless access to the employees who need them – and not those who don’t.

3. Timely file management

Organized files help healthcare professionals make more informed decisions about patient care. Organizing and processing files can speed up timelines and reduce the risk of healthcare delays. 

Since AI tools limit the manual labour involved in reviewing a patient file, professionals spend less time searching for documents and more time doing their job and delivering expert opinions – which means they can offer better, more detailed service.

AI and the Healthcare Industry: Complementing, Not Replacing, Medical Professionals

Healthcare providers can leverage AI while relying on their own professional insight when making patient decisions. AI can help reduce liability. However, it carries certain risks for medical practitioners if used inappropriately. Therefore, it’s vital that the two work hand-in-hand to reduce time and error and move the patient through the care process more effectively.

Some AI tools are meant to assist in diagnosing and treating patient issues. While these tools can effectively manage patient data more quickly, they are designed with professionals in mind. Experts suggest the technology will complement, not replace, the physician or healthcare provider.

The use of AI in healthcare, partnered with professionals in the space, is here to stay. By harnessing AI’s ability to summarize, organize, and index information more quickly than would be manually possible otherwise, healthcare professionals can spend more time on patient care – leading to more desirable outcomes and decreased medical malpractice liability as a whole.

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About the Author: Connor Atchison

Connor Atchison is the Founder and CEO of Wisedocs, a technology company reimagining claims through automation, intelligent medical record processing, and reviews to the insurance ecosystem and their claimants.