Moving Beyond the Hype: Realizing the Potential of AI at the Point of Care

Blog by Dr. Tom Schwieterman, Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Clinical Affairs




In last month’s post, my colleague Brad Muhlenkamp touched on a very real dilemma  many physicians and healthcare providers are experiencing: they feel they do not have enough time in the day to adequately provide the care their patients need.

This is not necessarily a new issue. As a private practice physician for 12 years in a rural community, I continually battled balancing paperwork and administrative tasks with patient time. But what is surprising to many is how quickly the issue has accelerated into an overwhelming crisis that is driving many providers to the breaking point.

There are numerous factors contributing to this. To begin, the sheer amount of reading physicians need to do in order to stay current with clinical advancements. When my dad graduated from medical school in the 1950s, the amount of clinical information was doubling every 50 years. When I graduated in the 1980s it was every 5 years. And now with my son entering his first year of medical school, the amount of clinical information is doubling every 72 days.

Additionally, the exam room has been inundated with new demands. These include the introduction of advanced diagnostics and novel therapeutics, the adoption of digital workflows and clinical documentation, and the increasing complexity of care due to advancing patient age and more sophisticated management.

It is no wonder that many healthcare experts are now looking to the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) to provide a measure of relief to healthcare providers and staff.

A 2023 Forbes article presented the 10 areas where AI will advance healthcare:

  1. Interpretive and/or Diagnostic Decision Support

  2. Drug Development and Clinical Research

  3. Clinical Trial Efficiency and Effectiveness

  4. Precision Medicine: Predictive, Personal and Customized

  5. Real-Time Remote Patient Monitoring

  6. Advancing Medical Device/Surgical Technologies

  7. Predicting and Controlling Outbreaks

  8. Improving Patient Engagement and Interactions

  9. Automating Workflows, Documentation and Administrative Burdens

  10. Improving Access to Care


At Midmark we are actively researching and investigating how AI might have a positive effect in the point of care ecosystem, especially when it comes to clinical workflows. There are a growing number of examples showing how AI is being used today to deliver value. 

For instance, the American Medical Association (AMA) recently highlighted how one health system is successfully using AI to reduce documentation burden for physicians. An ambient AI scribe uses the smartphone microphone and machine learning to summarize the clinical conversation and produce a note documenting the visit. During the health system’s initial 10-week trial period, 3,442 physicians used the technology in 303,266 patient encounters, with 968 physicians using it more than 100 times. 

While confidence is gaining in the use of AI in our everyday lives, there is still concern and scrutiny around the potential pros and cons. This is reflected in healthcare as well. A 2023 HealthITAnalytics article gathered current research showing how patients and providers feel about utilizing AI in a healthcare environment. The article goes on to summarize that building trust with patients and providers is a key factor in how widely adopted and accepted the use of AI becomes in clinical settings.

Midmark understands the importance of trust when it comes to introducing any new technology into the point of care ecosystem. It is why we work closely with our healthcare customers to understand their challenges and design the products and solutions they need. It is why our Midmark clinical education team offers our customers clinical and non-clinical training, including continuing education, to help ensure they effectively use our equipment and technology to enhance the quality of care.

It is also why we are looking beyond the hype and taking a closer look at viable and beneficial applications of AI in the products and solutions we design and how we do business with our customers. We see potential in a variety of areas, including healthcare facility design, patient safety in healthcare and workflow management.

When it comes to workflow efficiency, there are three main ways to boost it: eliminate a step, optimize a step or combine steps. AI offers a unique opportunity to do all three when it comes to certain tasks overburdening healthcare professionals. We believe that if deployed in a careful and thoughtful manner, AI has the power to give the practice of medicine back to the practitioners of medicine.

Midmark is leveraging our extensive knowledge of workflows at the point of care to understand how AI may be used as a force for good in care delivery. At the end of the day, the more time we help make available for patients to engage with providers and the more we can help our providers focus on patient care, the better it is for everyone involved in the healthcare journey. 

For more information on how Midmark helps put the focus on patient care and engagement,