Both of these happened yesterday:

On one hand, Google announced AI partnerships with major health systems such as HCA and Hackensack Meridian Health.

On the other, hundreds of nurses joined the actors and screenwriters strike in LA, protesting “the increasing use of AI and its impact on its members’ ability to provide quality patient care.”

HCA is piloting Google’s Google’s medically-tuned Med-PaLM 2 LLM to support caregivers in several areas, including patient handoff between nurses. HMH is planning to use Google’s AI to create greater administrative efficiencies, create equitable patient experience, and improve health literacy, among other projects.

Meanwhile, nurse unions are voicing concern about AI overruling care decisions made by nurses.

No matter where you stand on AI in healthcare, one thing is sure – there is a massive shortage of nurses across the country, and it’s only going to get worse in the coming years. Much of the burden on nurses has nothing to do with giving care, but paperwork and other administrative tasks.

AI can, and should, extend existing nursing teams, not replace them. Healthcare is a very particular type of service, the human dynamics are so intricate and nuanced. Both patients and caregivers are yearning for that human connection. This is not something that will be changing any time soon.

(photo: National Nurses United)