COVID-19 highlights the value of AI in helping to support patient care

The pandemic is pressing health systems to re-think how technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI)-powered clinical decision support, can help result in faster, more informed decisions.

By | 3 minute read | June 1, 2020

Woman in lap on computer

I believe the COVID-19 pandemic will accelerate change in healthcare. Forward-looking health systems will be the ones that focus on the competitive advantages that can enable them to provide better healthcare experiences.

For example, AI technology can help clinicians make faster, more informed decisions as they take care of the patients – from diagnosis to treatment plans to providing clear instructions upon discharge. This capability can potentially improve the healthcare experience for both patients and clinicians and now more than ever these AI-enabled tools can help clinicians to make more informed decisions because they are backed by data.

The promise of AI in healthcare is not a new concept. Before the pandemic, healthcare leaders were actively pursuing AI-powered solutions for their health systems. Why? Not unexpectedly, the leading drivers include cost reduction and improved efficiency.1 In addition, AI capabilities, including natural language processing (NLP), process augmentation, decision augmentation, computer vision and AI-driven robots, appear to be recognized by healthcare leaders as competitive advantages, thus leading to more systems adopting AI as part of their “new normal.”2

I believe the study suggests that healthcare leaders should seek opportunities that offer competitive advantages. To stay ahead in a value-based healthcare environment, health systems need to consider technology solutions that can help position them as leaders in their market — and that was true even pre-pandemic.

In my opinion, competitive advantages will be even more important as health systems move from response to recovery and try to recast this unprecedented event as an opportunity for innovation and reinvention. It’s a time to re-think the healthcare experience for patients, clinicians and all stakeholders across the continuum of care.

Helping to improve experiences with AI-powered clinical decision support

As I see it, AI has the potential to help significantly improve experiences enterprise-wide across healthcare. One-way AI can help support the healthcare provider experience is by incorporating it into clinical decision support (CDS) solutions.

DynaMed® and Micromedex® with Watson™ combines DynaMed’s peer-reviewed clinical content, guidelines and scientific literature reviews across numerous specialties and disease topics with Micromedex’s evidence-based drug information into a single resource to support clinician decision making. Powered by Watson, the solution employs AI and natural language processing designed to help users with a conversational approach to searching for drug information.

This partnership provides an opportunity for clinicians who are looking to prioritize the patient experience — especially as more healthcare services are delivered remotely and there is a need to personalize interactions.

EBSCO and IBM® Watson Health® share a common vision for how our partnership is designed to help improve the clinician experience, as eloquently stated by Peter Oettgen, MD, Editor in Chief of DynaMed:

“Healthcare professionals have demonstrated a clear desire to spend more time with their patients. We want clinicians to spend less time searching for answers and more time delivering exceptional patient care. DynaMed and Micromedex with Watson delivers a solution designed to provide accurate, timely information within current clinical workflows, giving clinicians time back to focus on patient care.”

This new solution is an example of how AI is a competitive advantage for healthcare providers – AI can help improve the user experience and business continuity, especially in times of crisis. We are still in the early stages of AI being incorporated into the healthcare industry, and I am excited to see the evolution of applications and the positive impact AI can have on patients and providers. As healthcare professionals prepare for the future, I think they should strongly consider how AI-powered solutions can help support better care experiences for clinicians and patients. It’s a win-win proposition.

Get answers to your COVID-19 questions now from the new solution

On a personal note, I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the healthcare professionals currently on the frontlines during this pandemic. Your commitment, dedication and courage are inspirational.


  1. State of AI – Healthcare Providers’ Perspective, Laura Croft and Pooja Singh, January 7, 2020.
  2. Ibid.