Generative AI: The next frontier of health care


In this article:

  • Artificial intelligence (AI) isn’t new, but the advancement of new generative AI technologies like ChatGPT means it has the potential to play a transformative role in the future of health care.

  • From clinical practice and consumer and patient interfaces to administrative areas and back-office functions, AI can improve system performance across a variety of settings.

  • Learn how Providence is leading the exploration of AI to positively impact the patient and caregiver experience.

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most hyped technologies impacting businesses in 2023. While AI itself isn’t new, the advancement of new generative models like ChatGPT means we’re quickly approaching a turning point for industries across the globe—and health care is no exception.

“Every aspect of health care will be impacted by generative AI in coming years,” says Sara Vaezy, executive vice president and chief strategy and digital officer for Providence. “The benefits of AI align with our tradition of innovation in service to our mission.”

Because of that mission, Providence remains on the leading edge of health care technology and is exploring how generative AI and other innovations can positively impact the patient experience.

Leveraging purpose-built technology

Like the internet or the advent of smartphones, generative AI presents massive opportunities for industries like health care. But as with other transformative technologies, designing generative AI for use in health care must be purposeful.

“Generative AI is different than previous iterations of AI because it is incredibly versatile, powerful and more performant than humans across many categories of AI, and is being widely adopted which is a key requirement to deliver value,” Vaezy says. “That means the possibilities are endless for health care settings. In addition, we must be cognizant of using this technology responsibly by leveraging appropriate infrastructure, building necessary guardrails, and applying to the highest value use cases.”

Providence is incorporating AI using both a top-down and bottom-up approach. Starting at the top, leaders across the system are collaborating to develop AI infrastructure, including building equity and safety guardrails and identifying strategic partners. Additionally, Providence is working from the ground up to identify pain points and use cases for generative AI.

Improving performance across health care settings

Generative AI can advance health care in a variety of settings. Providence is focused on four specific domains:

  • Assisting and augmenting clinical caregivers
  • Consumer and patient self-service, engagement, and navigation
  • Supporting our workforce in administrative areas
  • Streamlining back office functions

Providence is evaluating how AI can assist, augment or be autonomous in these areas. For example, AI can assist in collecting patient information before appointments or augment clinical decision-making during diagnosis. AI can also work autonomously to complete administrative tasks.

“We’re laser-focused on where generative AI can outperform humans so we can focus our human efforts on the things humans do best,” Vaezy says. “We know AI has potential for automating mundane tasks, for creating personalized experiences for patients and for supporting clinical decision-making.”

How Providence is implementing generative AI

Looking forward, Providence will continue to look for ways to leverage AI in ways that align with our mission. We’ll achieve this through:

  • Creating a generative AI strategy and plan: Transformations in the health care market, including how caregivers are trained, patient preferences for personalization and even the way health care is delivered, mean the roadmap we develop for leveraging generative AI must be agile.
  • Forming strategic partnerships: From creating strong collaborations with companies like Microsoft and Databricks to incubating technology companies that develop generative AI applications, we’re focused on finding the right partners to help us leverage generative AI in ways that support our communities of caregivers and consumers.
  • Providing change management: As the way our caregivers work naturally shifts with generative AI, we’ll play a major role in educating and training team members on new workflows and ways to care for patients.

In the coming months and years, generative AI can have a massively positive impact on health care, but it must be implemented responsibly.

“We need to balance speed and agility with appropriate guardrails,” Vaezy says. “As health care leaders, we have a responsibility to learn how to implement generative AI and other technologies safely, equitably, securely and ethically. Generative AI can support patients in new and exciting ways, and we need to make sure we have the infrastructure in place to enable it to be responsibly implemented.”

Contributing Caregiver

Sara Vaezy, executive vice president and chief strategy and digital officer for Providence

Find a doctor

Your provider can connect you to care and treatments that can improve your quality of life. If you are looking for a primary care provider, you can search for one who’s right for you in our provider directory.

Download the Providence App

We’re with you, wherever you are. Make Providence’s app your personalized connection to your health. Schedule appointments, conduct virtual visits, message your doctor, view your health records and more. Learn more and download the app.

Related resources

Driving Value: A pivotal moment for digital health

Death by pilot: How to drive healthcare innovation that scales

Growing from within: Why Providence incubates tech companies

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional’s instructions.