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Don’s Desk: The Transformative Role of Artificial Intelligence at Harrison

At Harrison we are deeply committed to technology that will improve the health and wellness of our clients, increase efficiency, and enhance the overall client experience. To date, the best examples are the development of our HealthChart and MHAT applications.

HealthChart (formerly CareChart) is Harrison’s online health management system. It is a secure platform for launching all applications being developed by Harrison, while empowering clients with key information from their electronic medical record, including lab results & measures, immunization records, a medication summary, and much more. Over the past several months we have been developing an advanced set of risk calculators for HealthChart, spanning over 30 diseases and disorders. Using a friendly “gauge” representation, these calculators can help clients better understand how they can reduce risk through incremental lifestyle adjustments and see how a single change can impact multiple risks. We anticipate that HealthChart will be broadly available to clients before year end.

MHAT is Harrison’s Mental Health Assessment Technology. Designed as a decision support system for physicians, MHAT is a ground-breaking tool that is capable of screening for a wide range of mental health issues as well as assessing whether a person meets diagnostic criteria for numerous conditions. It can also guide physicians to ruling out other possible causes of symptoms, including medication side-effects and other physiological factors. The end result will be faster time to treatment, something that societies around the world are striving for.

As powerful as these Harrison technologies are, they will be become truly impressive as we begin to layer artificial intelligence and machine learning (collectively “AI” for the purpose of this article) into their design. For example, in the case of disease risk prediction, AI will be able to uncover patterns in risk factors that may not be adequately considered in large population studies, making prediction increasingly precise. This will in turn allow professional teams to better stratify risks within our client rosters, assisting with the prioritization of care and further incentivizing specific lifestyle changes or other interventions.

In the case of mental health assessment and treatment, natural language processing (NLP), a subset of machine learning that enables computers to understand and interpret human language, will enable our computer systems to review innumerable medical studies to further clarify diagnoses and reveal optimal treatment pathways. This exciting technological breakthrough will also apply to all diseases and disorders we are confronted with.

As exciting as the possibilities are for more precise diagnosis and care, AI is in its infancy when it comes to healthcare delivery. However, in my view, it is like a young, eager, and rapidly growing sapling in an age-old rainforest of medical knowledge that will very quickly become intertwined with its mature counterparts and help evolve a new era of longevity and wellness.

Having said the above, there are particular aspects of current AI technology that are quite ready to help your Harrison team improve your care to an even greater standard.

Some clients are already experiencing the trial use of NLP in the form of recorded clinical interviews. In a completely private and secure way (since the recordings are not stored), these recordings can be automatically processed and reformatted to construct a structured clinical note for your medical record (always subject to professional review) that substantially reduces the administrative time for your Harrison team. This not only increases their clinical capacity (and therefore availability), but it facilitates the compassionate care that we always aspire to. It allows your professional to look more directly at you and less at their computer screen. Any increase in the level of attentiveness we can achieve is a worthwhile goal. This technology, along with others using aspects of AI to improve efficiency and increase professional “face time” will require a little more trial and investigation, but we feel it will soon become an integral part of our clinical methods.

Imagine that with the help of AI, your physician will soon be able to diagnose conditions more quickly and accurately, allowing for more time to discuss your concerns and treatment options, enhancing your overall experience and care at Harrison.

Several members of the Harrison team have received, and will continue to receive, additional training in AI and its applications in healthcare.

 I am proud to say I am among them, having recently completed executive education at the 

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the effective planning and proper implementation of AI and machine learning. I forgot how hard school can be!

We are deeply committed to the safe and responsible use of this rapidly emerging technology, and you can count on regular updates on our progress.


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We would like to acknowledge with gratitude that we operate on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations in Vancouver, and of the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksika, Kainai, Piikani), the Tsuut’ina, the Mountain Nakoda Nations, and the Métis Nation (Region 3) in Calgary. With appreciation, we recognize that these lands have been stewarded by them since time immemorial.

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