There are both opportunities and challenges to leveraging AI, automation and analytics, and Peyman Zand is experiencing it all.
Zand is the chief strategy officer at CereCore, a healthcare IT services provider based in Nashville, Tennessee, and he leads the company’s CIO Cohort Group. Zand spoke with StrategicCIO360 about how he expects AI will help CereCore and its clients, why he is particularly concerned about privacy issues and why he isn’t overly worried about dangers: “At the end of the day, the decision-making still resides with the humans.”
How has the integration of AI, automation and analytics impacted your organization’s overall strategic planning and decision-making processes?
CereCore has been involved in developing automation tools, creating analytics reports and other collaterals for our own company and many of our clients for years. We have recently started exploring the benefits of AI in our work processes as well as potentially helping with both automation and advanced analytics.
We believe AI will increase our productivity through enhancements to our toolset in development, reducing the time to market and overall cost to our organization. It will also provide improved visibility into future trends to help us, and our clients, better forecast events be they operational, preventive measures’ impact on health outcomes for patients or assisting clinicians.
What are the key challenges you have faced while implementing AI, automation and analytics initiatives within your organization, and how have you overcome them?
With automation, it’s really about having the proper scope and understanding of where automation can really benefit the organization. If the scope is not well defined and expectations are not set properly, we can waste a lot of cycles and in fact develop something that is not that useful. So, we spend more time upfront scoping the project and making sure our stakeholders really have a good understanding of where automation can help before we start developing any toolsets.
This process of setting the right expectations works the same for analytics projects. For example, we can look at historical trends, collect information from internal and external sources and provide analytic reports that give clinicians better information on treating patients. However, analytics cannot predict unforeseen events and even with AI solutions layered on top, this would be more of a sci-fi territory. Still, AI can improve the predictability of certain conditions based on the same information and that is where the real benefits come from.
Can you share any successful use cases or examples where AI, automation and analytics have played a pivotal role in driving strategic outcomes for your organization?
We are working closely with several healthcare systems including our own parent company and have delivered results in automation and analytics. We are developing the framework around AI and how that can be leveraged into our own existing platforms as well as blazing new territories.
How do you balance the potential benefits of AI, automation and analytics with concerns about data privacy, security and the potential displacement of jobs?
Our company is deeply rooted in the healthcare industry, and as such, we understand and appreciate the need for privacy, security and safeguarding both our patients and our own team members from harm. We have a security team that helps both our company and our clients comply with regulations and best practices in security and cybersecurity.
To date, we have not noticed that our engagements within AI, automation and analytics have displaced positions. In fact, those processes that have been automated or optimized through these tools allow us to free up our resources to spend time on more value-add tasks for ourselves and our clients.
Think of what mapping applications on our smartphones have been able to replace—old paper maps that were outdated and not that helpful. Now, we can not only find the best routes, but our restaurant of choice when we get to our destination. These functionalities only enhanced our lives and the only thing it replaced was the outdated paper map, which nobody misses.
What strategies and considerations have you implemented to ensure the ethical and responsible use of AI, automation and analytics technologies in your organization’s operations and decision-making processes?
Regardless of the rhetoric around how AI will severely impact our society and environment, we have to keep in mind that we have developed these systems. Even the most advanced and talked about AI platforms such as ChatGPT are designed and managed by a group of brilliant scientists and like any other tools that we have developed over the past decades, we will manage the ethical and societal ramifications of these systems.
This is no different than electronic access to patient medical information or using analytics to assist clinicians with patient care. We have placed ample guardrails around all these systems, and we will do the same in these cases. At the end of the day, the decision-making still resides with the humans, be it the doctor, the patient or their loved ones.