Have you ever tried to fix one problem, only to realize that a fix in one area causes a problem in another? Did you ever think about the promise of an overall, balanced solution that would offer a comprehensive approach to success?  Many experts think that solution may lie with Artificial Intelligence [AI] and its almost “magical” potential.  And while currently, the vision exceeds the capability it certainly won’t be that way for long―public and private sector investment in healthcare AI is expected to reach $6.6 billion by 2021, according to some estimates

To date, much of the focus of AI in healthcare has been clinical in nature―things like the early detection of diseases, imaging analysis, and precision surgery. I believe this is an unlimited new frontier in medicine that will revolutionize patient care.

However, there is another area of healthcare where AI can also play a pivotal role―healthcare operations.  The management of patient flow, staffing resources and assets to maximize the efficiency of all is just in its infancy.

If you believe the hype, one would think the industry is much more mature. Dozens of healthcare technology providers, from the largest acronym to the smallest start-up claim to have solved the operational efficiency puzzle with their “apps” or “walls of numbers.” The reality is this is simply not true—the puzzle is still out there to be solved.

AI in Healthcare operations

At TeleTracking, we are all about solving challenges no matter how large—our mission is to “ensure that no one has to wait for the care they need.” For nearly three decades, we pursued that mission by developing solutions to ensure the right patient, was in the right bed, at the right time. We’ve done that while also delivering outstanding outcomes to clients―and that’s just our starting point. 

Patient flow is a complex and high-stakes equation of matching a relatively inelastic supply against unpredictable and dynamic demand.  AI can be an invaluable tool in a number of aspects:

  • Prediction: particularly demand prediction such as census, transfers and patient volumes.  Increasing the accuracy of forecasts allows for a better ability to match assets (staff, beds, medications) with the patients who need them most at any given moment.
  • Optimization: there is no substitute for the judgment of a trained clinician when faced with a difficult decision.  However, AI has the ability to quickly analyze a near-limitless combination of parameters to provide recommendations that may not be immediately obvious―increasing both the speed and the accuracy of that judgment. In fact, AI could help address some 20% of unmet clinical demand, according to the consulting firm Accenture.
  • Execution: effective healthcare operations, and optimal clinical outcomes, rely heavily on a series of complex activities―involving multiple care paths and interdependent workflows across multiple departments.  AI has the potential to create connected processes where the next step in a process is triggered by its precedent, without the need for human intervention, or yet another alert.

Those previous factors are what makes AI interesting. It does a great job of creating knowledge, but knowledge in itself does not drive behavior. If it did, cardiologists wouldn’t eat bacon cheeseburgers or smoke. Yet we know some do. There would be no divorced marriage counselors. Yet we know there are. Knowledge informs but does not drive action. In many cases, it simply allows you to “admire the problem.” At the same time, the consulting firm McKinsey analyzed the ways AI might create more value in the business of healthcare systems and services―it estimated these potential savings at $269.4 billion annually.

Here’s where TeleTracking’s approach has been different from the start. We did not start from “top,” with a visualization of the problem, and try to work our way down. We started from the “bottom,” looking at the healthcare system at its most granular level and working our way up.

Our technology is supported by expert clinicians, world-class technologists and a relentless focus to bring visibility to a blind system and provide workflow management capabilities to drive behavior―all while measuring the progress to “sustain the gain.” It’s this approach to the “puzzle” that will continue to set TeleTracking apart from all of the other hype in the market.  

AI-enabled analytics―coupled with a best in class operating platform―are the perfect complement to address the problems of inefficiency in healthcare operations. Decision support and visibility that can be put in motion; drive real outcomes, enable caregivers and ultimately returning the most valuable asset in healthcare―time.



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About the Expert

Chris JohnsonChris Johnson



Chris Johnson brings broad experience in business, technology and operations management to his role as President. In his previous role as Chief Solutions Officer, Chris lead the Technology, Product Management, User Experience and IT&S teams, and was responsible for the development of TeleTracking’s patient flow solutions and the migration of the current portfolio of solutions to a single cloud-based platform.

Prior to joining TeleTracking in 2015, Chris served in multiple roles in technology and personnel management across financial services and healthcare verticals. Most recently he served as the Chief Technology Officer for GE Healthcare’s asset management, patient flow and hospital operations management platforms. He led the formation of a global team of technology professionals and managed the development, deployment and operationalization of a global, cloud based platform serving hospitals across the world.

Chris holds an MBA from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia and a Bachelor’s Degree in Government from George Mason University.

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Enterprise Analytics, Patient Flow Experts, Company Insights
Media Type
Executive, Operations

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