health care

To enhance accessibility to its health care services, Cedars-Sinai recently announced updates to its AI virtual primary care app, Cedars-Sinai Connect.

The platform will expand its reach to pediatric patients and Spanish-speaking individuals, offering tailored medical assistance powered by K Health’s clinical AI technology, with the aim of improving patient care and convenience.

The expansion of Cedars-Sinai Connect brings children aged 3-17 access to the health care organization’s clinical providers around the clock for urgent issues such as cough, cold, flu or rash.

Families can opt for on-demand visits or scheduled appointments during specified hours on weekdays and weekends, ensuring prompt medical attention for sick children.

Additionally, same-day appointments are available for primary care visits with Spanish-speaking providers, catering to the diverse linguistic needs of patients.

The platform combines advanced virtual care capabilities with Cedars-Sinai’s clinical expertise, streamlining care coordination and facilitating sharing of patient health records.

Since its inception in fall 2023, Cedars-Sinai Connect has facilitated over 9,200 virtual visits, covering more than 6,900 patients across California.

Dr. Caroline Goldzweig, chief medical officer of Cedars-Sinai Medical Network, highlighted the comprehensive nature of Cedars-Sinai Connect, underscoring its integration into a top-tier academic health system.

“Connect helps patients manage their acute, chronic and preventive care needs through a platform that harnesses medical knowledge and real patient experiences,” she explained.

The AI functionality developed by K Health powers a guided intake questionnaire that helps identify symptoms and presents clinical providers with a completed patient chart.

The questionnaire adjusts dynamically based upon the patient’s responses and leads to an educational page where they can learn more about their symptoms and potential diagnoses, which they can discuss with their doctor.

“Connect uses K Health’s AI technology to reduce administrative burdens such as data entry, freeing doctors to focus more time on patient care and less on charting,” Goldzweig said.

She said the introduction of pediatric care and Spanish-speaking health care providers is part of an effort to further the organization’s mission of bridging the gap between in-person and virtual care, reducing wait times and addressing primary care needs for a diverse population.

“Through our strategic partnership with K Health, we can leverage years of learning and agile development to continuously iterate on our technology and service,” she explained. “Together, we were able to rapidly address user frictions such as insurance eligibility, identity verification and management.”

She added all this support was grounded in the highest quality of clinical care, where we actively monitored each encounter and patient surveys.

“This continuous development approach has created many improvements in both the technology and clinical operations,” Goldzweig said.

She pointed out K Health’s AI platform does not provide medical advice or a diagnosis to the patient.

Rather, it creates efficiencies for providers by streamlining the patient intake process, learning from, and improving patient and provider interactions.

“In general, AI is meant to extend and augment human capabilities and intelligence, and with Connect the provider is always making the care decision and assessment to address the patient’s concerns,” she said.

Recent studies have indicated physicians encounter myriad challenges in health care delivery, contributing to widespread burnout and a growing appetite for change.

Amidst these obstacles, there exists considerable optimism surrounding the potential of technology, including AI, to mitigate many of the health care sector’s pressing issues.

As per the findings of the third Athenahealth Physician Sentiment Survey conducted by The Harris Poll, a significant majority of physicians (83%) hold the belief that AI holds promise in alleviating numerous health care challenges.

Physicians participating in the survey highlighted several potential benefits of AI, including its capacity to discern patterns and anomalies in patient data, streamline administrative tasks, enhance healthcare efficiency, bolster the accuracy of patient diagnoses and facilitate real-time monitoring of patient data.