News7News 7
HomeHealthUW Health nurses test AI tools for patient messaging

UW Health nurses test AI tools for patient messaging

by News7

As part of a joint artificial intelligence pilot program with Microsoft and Epic that initially launched in 2023 – and out of a growing need to address workforce shortages and growing demand for healthcare – UW Health nurses have begun testing how a large language model could help draft responses to patient questions sent through the health system’s patient portal.

“It’s critical that we as nurses are part of the conversation when it comes to using this technology to care for patients,” according to Rudy Jackson, chief nurse executive at UW Health.


Messages drafted using the LLMs are reviewed and edited, the Madison, Wisconsin-based health system said in its announcement on June 6. 

Since September, more than 75 UW Health nurses have started using generative AI to create more than 3,000 patient messages across more than 30 departments. 

Patient information accessed by the generative is kept private and secure within the electronic health records system, UW Health said. 

The nurses have called it “fascinating.”

“I have found having a draft to start from helpful, and I’m glad I could provide feedback on improvements and features to ensure this can be a good tool for nurses and have a positive impact on our patients,” Amanda Weber, registered nurse clinic supervisor for UW Health, said in a statement.

UW Health said that it aims to shape how AI can benefit patients, nursing and the healthcare industry as a whole and elevate its academic nursing programs.

“We’re eager to try innovative methods to ensure our nurses have the tools they need to focus on caring for their patients,” Jackson added.


UW Health is also working with Epic on a new effort to democratize health AI validation that aims to standardize the process of testing AI models against local population data.

“Most healthcare organizations today do not have the capabilities or personnel for local model testing and monitoring,” Mark Sendak, population health and data science lead at Duke Institute for Health Innovation and a leader of the Health AI Partnership, told Healthcare IT News last month.

UW Health is partnering with the multi-stakeholder group for peer learning and collaboration to test Epic’s first open-source tool and create guidance for using AI in healthcare. 

The effort “is one of the things that’s going to build trust among end users,” added Brian Patterson, UW Health’s medical informatics director for predictive analytics and AI.


“It’s critical that we as nurses are part of the conversation when it comes to using this technology to care for patients,” Jackson said in a statement. “It’s exciting to see our nurses investigate this technology and offer observations and recommendations to make it better.”

Andrea Fox is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.

Email: [email protected]
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

Source : Healthcare IT News

You may also like