AI enabling behavioral health innovation – Healthcare Finance News

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Eyal Zimlichman, chief transformation officer and chief innovation officer at Sheba Medical Center, speaks Monday at the HIMSS24 conference in Orlando.

Photo: Jeff Lagasse/Healthcare Finance News

ORLANDO – Artificial intelligence bridges a lot of gaps in healthcare, and one Middle Eastern hospital is testing the limits of the technology, aiming to improve behavioral healthcare while also being an economic engine of growth.

Eyal Zimlichman, chief transformation officer and chief innovation officer at Sheba Medical Center, said during his session “AI Enabling Innovation Across the Global Behavior Health Spectrum” Monday at HIMSS24 in Orlando said the two concepts  – improved patient care and improved economic output – can be complimentary. It’s all about the innovation.

“It’s about creating jobs, bringing in foreign investment, collaborating with large industries,” said Zimlichman. “This has led to a lot of interest around the world.”

That was the philosophy behind ARC, an innovation platform created by Sheba Medical Center in 2019. But to move from a broad vision to actual transformation, they needed data – lots of it – and generative AI was able to produce new data, not just analyze existing data.

“We’ve been playing with machine learning, being able to react to data, to predict,” said Zimlichman. “GenAI is about creating new data, new insights. There’s huge potential here. Already in the past year we’ve seen an avalanche of transformation.”

The initial push was to turn the DSM into an algorithm that can constantly learn and improve. While this process is still in the early stages, eventually this could lead to the improvement of digital therapy through chatbots and virtual agents, as well as inform the behavioral and cognitive therapy that’s delivered through apps.

“It’s here, it’s already creating an impact and we’re going to see it more and more, and how that intersects with AI is going to be really, really interesting,” said Zimlichman.

Sheba, with Zimlichman’s direction, helped to spearhead an initiative called LIV, the idea of which was to revolutionize triage, scale capabilities and better personalize patient care. 

“We wanted to develop it to empower clinicians, and power triage so the proper patients get the proper treatments, which is something we’re lacking when we look at accessibility problems,” he said.

LIV lost money the first year, broke even the second year and is now looking to turn a profit, which is rare for such a nascent platform. And it’s not the only AI opportunity Sheba is pursuing. Online psychiatric hospitalization is another, providing mental health support to people who would otherwise be isolated from their families while receiving behavioral health support. And the hospital is also working on a digital psychiatric ward, which is three months into its infancy and is enabled by wearable sensors, providing both data and a robust dashboard for each patient. 

That last effort is too new to have generated measurable results, but Zimlichman is encouraged. 

“This is not a mental exercise,” said Zimlichman. “This is critical. If we’re going to be able to solve this crisis, we’ll need to be able to use AI, so we need to improve it and address the challenges.”

Jeff Lagasse is editor of Healthcare Finance News.
Email: [email protected]
Healthcare Finance News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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