Mayo Clinic To Implement AI For Emergency Department Triage

The Mayo Clinic has announced plans to implement new AI-based technology which will help providers at one of its campuses better route patients to the right level of care.

The health system has agreed to work with AI vendor Diagnostic Robotics, which has developed an AI-driven prediction and triage platform. Mayo will use the tools provided by Diagnostic Robotics to triage patients seeing clinicians at its Rochester, MN location.

According to the vendor, the AI platform bases its feedback on millions of EHR records and billions of data points collected from patients in both the United States and Israel.

The automated predictive patient triage system Mayo plans to adopt will ask providers conducting a clinical intake screen to complete an AI-driven questionnaire analyzing the needs of patients in settings such as the emergency department, urgent care clinics and patients reaching out from home. After processing the responses, the system will generate a hospitalization risk score.

After receiving the risk score, the clinical staff can review the patient’s self-reported condition and suggest differential diagnoses. The system’s recommendations are intended to supplement the physician decision-making process, the partners said.

The agreement follows on a recent partnership Diagnostic Robotics struck recently with the Rhode Island Department of Health in which the vendor adapted its technology to create a COVID-19 risk assessment and monitoring tool.

As readers know, this is just one example of a rapidly-growing list of institutions putting AI at the center of critically-important workflows. One particularly on-point example comes from the UK’s National Health Service, which announced last summer that as part of a larger digital health initiative, it was rolling out its own AI-based triage process which will help patients decide whether or not they needed to seek treatment for their health concern.

For the last few years, the UK has been partnered with healthcare AI tech vendor Babylon Health, which offers apps for medical evaluation.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also prompted greater use of AI technologies by hospitals. For example, as we noted in April, hundreds of health systems are apparently using an Epic tool known as the deterioration index to predict how patients diagnosed with the virus will fare, including the University of Michigan, Parkview Health, and Stanford.

If you had asked a year or two ago, I would have predicted that a large number of health systems would have AI-based tools in place dedicated to improving the effectiveness of their triage process by this point. However, with the advent of the pandemic, all usual bets are off, and HIT departments have been forced to devote most of their resources to meeting COVID-related challenges.

At some point, though, it seems likely that health systems will have made most of the major health IT changes they need to make to streamline care for patients with the virus. Perhaps in another year or two more health systems will find the resources to invest in AI triage options.

This delay may even be for the best. Given the pace at which AI is growing in sophistication, the tools they adopt in, say, 2022 may be leaps and bounds ahead of whatever they’re looking at today.

About the author

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.