Employee fears addressed
Melanie Wilson, vice president of Revenue Cycle for Essentia Health, an integrated healthcare system with facilities in Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota, said she made sure to address employees’ concerns that their jobs were threatened during her organization’s nine AI “implementations” within revenue cycle operations.
“You just cannot overcommunicate something like this,” Wilson said. “Our intent was to redeploy resources. We wanted people to be operating as humans, having the human element, using their critical thinking skills and a lot of the things were looking to automate were just repetitious work.”
Susan Nelson, executive vice president & CFO at MedStar Health, a health system in the Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area, said employees there also were concerned about job losses during the roll out of its 18 AI implementations.
The health system assured employees “that this was an opportunity for them to move into a different area, to understand a new aspect of the process, to expand their skill sets,” Nelson said. “They managed very carefully during this implementation time to create an environment where we had other positions and vacancies that they could explore; almost a job-fair-type approach for people that were going to be looking at a different part of the work. That really opened up people’s mindsets to ‘Hey, maybe this is a good thing for me, too.’”
Karen Testman, CFO at MemorialCare Health System, in Los Angeles, said leadership’s role was critical to address employee concerns and encouraging employee support for the adoption of AI.
“The fear is still there; it hasn’t gone away entirely,” Testman said.
To address that, human resources has committed to finding employees whose roles were affected by the introduction of AI with finding other positions within the organization.
“It’s one of those issues of recognizing it, acknowledging that it is a sensitivity that is there that has to be addressed and working then through that,” Testman said.
Sean Lane, CEO of Olive, which provides AI systems to healthcare organizations, urged hospitals to use it move employees from menial, repetitive tasks to those that take advantage of their reason and personality.
“The great irony of creating an AI workforce is that it is really an investment in your humans and it’s really believing in their potential,” Lane said.
An improvement in employee productivity may allow organizations ultimately to increase their personnel as that improved productivity allows the organization to take on new healthcare missions, he said.