Olive bets on humanized, empathetic AI to build the internet of healthcare
The most exciting use of artificial intelligence in healthcare is usually on the clinical front, with the development of decision support tools and drug discovery, for example. But the technology can also be of great use on the administrative side of the industry.
About a third of every U.S. dollar is spent in the administrative burden of delivering care, according to Rohan D’Souza (pictured), chief product officer of Olive AI Inc., which builds artificial intelligence and RPA solutions that empower healthcare organizations to improve efficiency and patient care while reducing costly administrative errors.
“We can shine a light on a place that has typically been very dark in healthcare,” he said. “It’s around this mundane aspect of traditional, operational and financial performance that doesn’t get a lot of love from the tech community.”
D’Souza spoke with Natalie Erlich, host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio, during the AWS Startup Showcase: The Next Big Things in AI, Security & Life Sciences. They discussed the administrative problems of healthcare, how Olive AI can help the industry to be more efficient and the characteristics of its solutions. (* Disclosure below.)
A call for more efficiency
Health systems and their providers are working harder than ever to provide the care needed during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Although demands have increased exponentially, the resources to do so have often not kept pace. And this reality requires more efficiency.
“Technology is here to really come into the aid of assisting everybody in healthcare, not just on the consumer side, but on the industry side and on the enterprise side of delivering better care,” D’Souza said.
The first challenge was that customer systems did not communicate with each other, did not have interoperability. So, the idea was to create a software robot using computer vision and do a deep learning from that layer of interoperability so that the robot could connect to any software like a human does. It can operate it, connecting the dots between the various pieces.
One big part of this is leveraging technology to automate a lot of the high-velocity, low-variability items.
“We think it’s unfair that healthcare relies on humans as being routers,” D’Souza said. “And we have looked to solve the problem of technology not talking to each other by using humans.”
Along with automation is the application AI to both handle repetitive, high-volume tasks and better manage critical processes, allowing staff to get back to patient care. Built on the AWS stack, the company takes advantage of massive distributing cloud computing to very quickly stand up and spin up the AI environment.
“You might be sitting there wondering, well why are we talking about automation under the umbrella of AI?” he said. “And that’s because we are challenging the very status quo of siloed-based automation, and we’re building what we say is the internet of healthcare.”
With these solutions, Olive has helped healthcare organizations reduce data and billing errors, eliminate denials for no coverage and improve cash collections, for example.
A smart bot to help teams
Another unique feature of Olive’s strategy for health is bringing a human and empathetic approach to automation. Its eponymous AI solution, Olive, is a bot that is built not just to work with humans, but to seem like one – the company describes “her” as an AI-powered digital employee.
“We’re leveraging technology by saying when one Olive learns, all Olives learn so that we take advantage of the network effect of a single Olive worker in the trenches of healthcare, sharing that knowledge and wisdom, both with her human counterparts but also with her AI worker counterparts,” D’Souza said.
As any other employee, Olive shows up to work, she’s onboarded, and she has an obligation to her customers and human worker counterparts, D’Souza explained. When a repair is necessary, Olive takes a “sick day.”
“We don’t just tell our customers Olive’s not working today. We tell our customers that Olive is taking a sick day,” he said. “A human worker … might need to stay home and recover. In our case, we just happened to have to rewire a certain portal integration because a portal just went through a massive change.”
The humanization of the AI solution helps customers understand they can achieve success with AI-based deployments, according to D’Souza. This eliminates any worries about the AI taking jobs or competing with humans, for example. Olive provides deep insights back to her team in the form of reporting.
“She’s unbiased, data-driven, extremely transparent in her approach. She’s empathetic,” D’Souza stated. “Most importantly, she’s incredibly knowledgeable, and we really want to bring that knowledge that she has gained over the years of working in the trenches of healthcare to her customers.”
The company believes that the healthcare industry is in the early days of applying AI into production in the practical sense. While this technology has already found its place in the research arena, it has struggled to find its way into the trenches of practicality, according to D’Souza. That is partly because the cost of the false positive in healthcare is high.
“You can’t tell a patient or somebody else: ‘Oops, I really screwed up. I should not have told you that,’” he explained. “So, what that’s meant for us, in the trenches of delivery of AI-based applications, is we’ve been through a cycle of continuous pilots and proof of concept.”
Now, with AI starting to take center stage, much of what has been hardened in the research world can be applied to practicality to avoid burnout and the sheer cost that the system is subject to. Therefore, an increasing number of organizations are looking for AI-based solutions, according to D’Souza.
“It’s just an amazing, amazing time to be at the intersection of practical application of AI and really, really good healthcare delivery for all of us,” he concluded.
Watch the complete video interview below, part of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the AWS Startup Showcase: The Next Big Things in AI, Security & Life Sciences. (* Disclosure: Olive AI sponsored this segment of theCUBE. Neither Olive AI nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)
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