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Four ways to ensure success with AI


AI isn't something to be feared but rather the key to giving health care organizations a competitive edge

4 ways to succeed with AI: ©Lalaka - stock.adobe.com

4 ways to succeed with AI: ©Lalaka - stock.adobe.com

Artificial intelligence (AI) tools are taking up space at the table and promise to revolutionize the working world. Even though the concept of humans and machines working together isn't new, the apparent flurry of AI tools and concern about how they may impact humans has sparked various reactions, from anger to anxiety to fascination.

As the co-founder and CEO of Fathom, a medical coding AI company, I believe that AI isn't something to be feared but rather the key to giving health care organizations a competitive edge. And since the adoption of AI in health care is inevitable – the latest Healthcare Provider IT Report from Bain and KLAS found that a massive 58% of health system leaders are working on an AI adoption strategy or already have one in place– leaders need to pay attention and learn how to work with AI or risk losing out.

But how can organizations discern real impact from the promise? After all, health care tech is rife with examples of companies that have over-promised and under-delivered. The recent collapse of Olive AI, which cited "fast-paced growth and lack of focus" as the reason behind its downfall, is just the latest in a long series.

The answer is to avoid hasty decisions driven by the fear of missing out. Instead, take time to evaluate AI offerings with a critical eye. When searching for the right solution for their organization, leaders must thoroughly vet the tool of their choice and prioritize concrete impact, transparency, and adaptability. They need to choose a partner that will support their unique goals and grow with them over time as an enabler of their workforce.

Bringing AI on board

Keen to pursue AI, but not sure how? It's best to take a four-pronged approach when rolling out AI in an organization.

1. Build a culture of innovation: Companies must cultivate an open atmosphere that encourages employees to try AI and explore ways to integrate it into their workflow. That looks like supplying the necessary training, tools, and hands-on support workers need to thrive. Integrating AI tools to enhance the working environment or normalizing their use throughout the company is also an effective way to attract top talent. After all, younger candidates have higher expectations for tech to improve their day-to-day operations and associate it with cutting-edge projects. BCG, for example, reports that 44% of AI workers rank "exciting" tasks as a top need, compared with just 27% of non-AI talent.

2. Change and educate with intention: Changing the way an organization operates is a formidable undertaking. It requires trust, and any company needs a robust rollout plan that includes what organizational change management will look like.Look for an AI vendor with a dedicated customer success team who can walk you through any growing pains. Some ways to set up an AI deployment successfully include appointing a steering committee or other governance to participate in AI decisions. Actively involving employees in the AI implementation process also helps to demystify the technology and establish its role as a tool to enhance their work, rather than take it away. With a dedicated game plan, the transition to using a new solution can be smooth and predictable and result in higher employee morale.

3. Prove ROI: Vendors will often calculate impressive ROI from their technology, but adopters need to validate these estimates from the beginning. Any credible vendor will bet on itself with a proof of concept. When evaluating AI solutions for your organization, look for one that allows you to test and validate tools yourself to demonstrate ROI. For example, in autonomous coding applications, a great way to build confidence is to compare your teams' coding to that of an AI system and validate the results yourself.

4. Understand the product roadmap: One of the most critical factors to examine when implementing an automation solution is the vendor's research and development plans. If your organization plans to partner with an AI vendor, you want a long-term solution where the provider can grow along with the vendor and meet your needs as they change. The questions you need to ask are: How will this vendor adapt to a fluctuating environment? Will the costs change as the landscape alters? Will their AI allow my company to be flexible internally while the external environment shifts? Given the often long relationships between health care organizations and external partners, proper alignment with an AI vendor's product roadmap is essential.

RCM: Your AI launchpad

For those in health care, AI yields the power of endless potential — the ability to address labor shortages, increase efficiency, and enhance data-driven decision-making. A great place to start for quick results is AI medical coding.

Working in health care is stressful at the best of times. Factor in the sky-high levels of employee burnout (so worrying that the Surgeon General's Advisory highlighted the need to address it), and it's inevitable that staff will have off days and make mistakes. In the medical coding realm, even the tiniest error leads to denied claims and delayed or lost revenue.

Using AI to automate coding eliminates many repetitive tasks and the small mistakes that come with them, reducing burnout and increasing efficiency. Imagine a superhuman medical coder who never gets sick, doesn't need a vacation, and doesn't get tired and make mistakes.

Choose your vendor with intention and use AI to dramatically improve operations and make faster, data-driven decisions. In a world where AI is transforming the health care landscape, this is your opportunity to stay ahead, provide better patient care, and ensure your organization's financial sustainability. Don't just watch the AI phenomenon unfold; be a part of it.

Andrew Lockhart is the CEO of Fathom.

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