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AI In Healthcare: 83bar Employee’s Story

January 25, 2023 — By Heather Rendulic

AI in healthcare has become a hot topic among healthcare professionals. But what does this mean for patients? Patient and 83bar employee shares her experience – and opinion – on how AI can change the experience for the patient.

AI In Healthcare: 
Who is Heather Rendulic and why my perspective can provide value

Who am I? Professionally, I am the HR Generalist for 83bar and have the honor of working with some amazing people and helping build 83bar’s culture and community. I have worked here for a year now and have loved every second of it! Outside of work, I am a wife and dog mom to my little crazy mutt, Brantley. I also am a published author of my book, Head Strong: Through Life, Love, and Brain Surgery! This book is about my story of overcoming some immeasurable health challenges when I was a Junior in college.

Shortly after my 22nd birthday, I was diagnosed with a rare brain condition called Cavernous Angioma. This lesion in my brain ruptured causing a hemorrhagic stroke. There is currently no treatment for this condition and the only known cure is brain surgery, however, my lesion was so deep in my brain that my neurosurgeon considered it inoperable at the time of my diagnosis. Unfortunately, my lesion was especially aggressive and it bled five times over eleven months! The fifth and final stroke paralyzed the entire left side of my body, forcing my neurosurgeon to remove the lesion through brain surgery, or else it was going to kill me. I underwent a 9-hour brain surgery to remove the lesion from my brain but was left with stroke-like deficits. I then spent the next two years relearning how to walk and use my affected arm. My recovery continued, and so did I. I went back to college, graduated with honors, and started my career in HR!  My main message in my book is one of hope. Truth is, we all go through hard times, and while we cannot control what happens to us, we can control how we react to those challenges!

Although I still live with limited use of my left arm and hand, I have conquered what I like to call “living one-handed in a two-handed world”!

Because of my journey from my brain condition, I have been involved in multiple clinical trials and studies to improve outcomes for stroke victims. It is a journey I truly feel blessed to be on, although it may be difficult at times.

Leveraging Artificial Intelligence

Today, the healthcare community is seeing an immense push in leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) in clinical trials, diagnostic purposes, and treatment plans for patients. While AI may help medical professionals, the question lies in how patients will feel about this shift and how it can affect the treatment of their injury or illness.

The Patient’s Perspective

From my perspective, as a patient, I believe AI could be used in a beneficial way for both patients and providers if used thoughtfully. AI could potentially cut costs for providers and enable them to use those funds for research or investment in better technology.

Some studies have concluded that AI could even improve patient outcomes by identifying hidden data in diagnostic patterns that lead to earlier diagnosis of diseases and will improve treatment plans! This sounds like a win-win for me.

However, the concern I have is in the way AI could impact a patient’s experience through their medical condition. Humans yearn for human connection. Every patient is unique and not always a “textbook” solution. I have had questions for my doctor and that in turn altered my course of treatment to meet my unique needs. How personal can AI technology get with patients?

We need to ensure we keep a patient-centric approach with a human touch.

Beneficial, with limitations

In conclusion, I believe AI could be used in a beneficial way throughout the medical field, with limitations. Diagnostically, AI could potentially diagnose disease earlier leading to better patient outcomes.

Administratively, AI could be used to help clinical trials administer forms, schedules, and generic questions for participants. Personally, AI will fall short of providing patients with the doctor/patient relationship they need as a support and resource on their medical journey.