Rachel led the deployment of Micromedex, a drug information database, which helps nurses and pharmacists provide better care to patients at Peninsula Regional Medical Center—the first hospital to integrate Watson Assistant into its use of Electronic Health Records. Last year, Watson handled more than 100,000 questions related to medications, dosage and interactions that could affect patients.

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What benefits are you realizing with AI?
Watson streamlined our workflow and allowed us to find answers to medication-related questions much faster and more easily than traditional search methods, which is critically important for patient care. For example, a nurse can ask Watson for the IV compatibility of two medications instead of calling a pharmacist or digging through a traditional IV compatibility tool online. This is increasing patient safety and making it easier for us to care for patients.

What have you learned that you wish you knew when you first started working with AI?
I wish I had understood how quickly the tool would develop and learn—and the IBM team did a great job incorporating feedback and teaching Watson things like common spelling mistakes and medical terminology in just a few short months. It was unusual for us to see that amount of progress in such a short time span.

What advice would you share with others who are considering using AI?
We should all start thinking about where AI can help improve the work you do each day. AI is not meant to replace us or our jobs. It’s a tool to help us perform our jobs better.

What do you believe is most critical to making an AI project successful in driving business results?
As with any project, you have to have a strong multidisciplinary team. It takes a group of diverse thinkers to incorporate something so impactful into daily work. It can be difficult to understand early on how much a tool like this is able to provide; it is critical to set reasonable expectations. You may not be able to solve all of the problems immediately.

What advice would you give to the next generation of women as they enter the workforce?
Take opportunities when they present themselves and put the work in to achieve results.

Interested in more stories of women in AI?
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