The Future of AI in Massachusetts Healthcare

February 14, 2020
Source Editors

At the most recent HealthTechies event, Professor Jayakanth Srinivasan of Boston University’s Questrom School of Business moderated a panel discussion featuring leaders from the Boston-based AI startups: Posh CEO Karan Kashyap, Vyasa Analytics CIO Fran Lawaetz, and Vyasa Analytics Solutions Architect Tanina Cadwell.

Posh, spun out of MIT in 2018, is developing a conversational AI platform to automate routine inquiries and boost customer engagement with chat bots. Vyasa Analytics, launched in 2017, leverages AI and traditional analytic tools to help organizations make data driven decisions. 

During the discussion led by Professor Srinivasan, the speakers generally agreed that there is hype around AI, but that is still difficult for everyday individuals to understand how emerging machine learning methods fit into the AI world, or even what these buzzwords such as "AI", "machine learning", or "deep learning" actually mean to the layperson. “AI has been around for years but deep learning is a sub group within machine learning. Deep learning is where all the hype has been around because it can be used to identify certain trends,” said Cadwell. 

As AI is used more regularly in health care, real-world applications are becoming clearer. For example, 

“AI can be used to automate responses to frequently asked questions for patients who have recently been diagnosed with diabetes. Patients can have quicker insights and responses about the frequency to exercise, medications to manage diabetes symptoms, and more,” said Kashyap.

The implementation of AI in healthcare does not come without challenges. Navigating regulatory compliance, for example, can be challenging.

Kashyap shared the challenges they first faced when entering the healthcare market. “Back then, we underestimated the amount and variety of data that was needed to develop our product. Knowing what we know now, Posh is able to make an effective product within healthcare but we have also expanded into financial services, which is helping us to grow quicker,” said Kashyap.

The challenges of deploying and effectively using AI are countered by the benefits. AI tools can make it easy to quickly analyze and review more data than ever before. Healthcare systems and business that use AI are able to derive more insights from their existing data and make not only faster, but better decisions.

“With this technology, we are seeing a faster turnaround on deliverables, great communication, and a better understanding of the business. That’s the core premise of the scale Vyasa can achieve for our clients,” said Cadwell.  

Events like this are happening throughout the year in Massachusetts, as are other programs to drive change and engage in thought leadership discussion. The next HealthTechies event is on March 24.