AVA: May 2023


AVA: Ask Vic Anything


Are there areas within healthcare that are more likely than others to benefit from AI?


Vic: Yes, there are some areas of healthcare that lend themselves to leveraging the use of AI tools more easily. These are primarily areas that are labor-intensive and inefficient today, combined with a tech-friendly regulatory environment and an open interface to allow the insertion of a time-saving tool.


I liked your article last month about courage, but the challenges we face seem multifaceted and significant. Can you provide a few concrete steps I could take in my system? 


The worst challenges are ones that have been left undefined. When facing a challenge, the best first step is to define and document the issue clearly. Start by detailing all the issues without attempting to solve anything. Then, ask a peer or coworker to add to the list to incorporate multiple perspectives. This will help you gain a better understanding of the situation and uncover existing solutions to address specific aspects of the problem. A clear understanding of the problem will make it seem less daunting..


How does Kaiser Permanente’s acquisition of Geisinger change the health system landscape?


Vic: Kaiser Permanente has acquired Geisinger and will be rebranding to form a new organization called Risant Health. Assuming regulators approve the deal, Geisinger will be the first new member of Risant Health. HCH has been expecting to see significant consolidation of health systems and this deal fits into this trend. I expect Risant Health will look to add more health systems in other geographies in the coming years. The impact on the overall health system landscape is difficult to predict, but it’s expected to accelerate the adoption of Value-based Care. Over time, Risant Health is expected to grow in size and compete with other nationwide non-profit systems.


I have seen our system begin to fill long-vacant nursing positions. Do you think the workforce shortage is waning?


Vic: Yes and no. While it is true that the worst of the workforce shortage is over and health systems are able to hire more full-time staff and rely less on temporary nurses, the situation remains challenging. The costs of running a health system, especially wages, are still too high compared to the amount of money coming in from reimbursements. This presents a difficult situation for health systems and forms the basis for our view that a redesign of the care delivery model is still needed.



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