Transforming Healthcare:
Balancing human touch and technological advances

Article - Healthcare
By Kelley Iuele|10th July 2023

In brief:

  • Machine learning is being used in radiology to analyze large amounts of data quickly and accurately, freeing up valuable provider time 
  • BayCare Health System in Florida is successfully incorporating technology into healthcare while emphasizing the importance of maintaining the human touch
  • Artificial Intelligence is being utilized to transcribe patient conversations, catch missed details, and simplify documentation, potentially alleviating burnout among healthcare providers
  • Conversational AI, such as voice-activated assistants in patient rooms, is improving the patient experience by enabling instant communication and satisfying emergent needs  

Healthcare, if we break it down to its very basic premise, is one human caring for the health of another. But machines, robots, and artificial intelligence are rapidly becoming the center of the industry as transformation sweeps across the sector and more and more processes are digitalized. One Florida health system is proving that the right balance of technological boom and human being improves healthcare for patients and providers. In this post, we’ll look at three areas where tech is reshaping care.  

BayCare Health System, in the Tampa Bay and central Florida region, is made up of more than a dozen hospitals and hundreds of clinical sites. The system’s Chief Physician Executive, Sowmya Viswanathan, is passionate about transforming the way providers and patients interact with technology. Delivering the closing keynote address at our latest GDS Group Healthcare Summit, Dr. Viswanathan shared the innovative ways BayCare is using tech and the promising results, stressing the importance of maintaining human-to-human care. 

“As physicians and physician leaders…it’s the human touch that goes above and beyond in providing the best quality care.” 

Sowmya Viswanathan Chief Physician Executive, BayCare Health System 

Speaking to our audience of healthcare practitioners, technologists, payers, and insurers, she emphasized tools and tech that complement that human touch and allow clinical teams to have more meaningful interaction with patients. 

Machine Learning in Radiology

Radiology is a standout space where Dr. Viswanathan sees great progress. Machines can be trained to analyze large amounts of data quickly and with high reliability. With scores of radiologic images to be reviewed, and a limited supply of radiologists, lower-risk screening cases made the perfect machine learning use case. Check out the numbers she shared with our audience.  

 “If the physician was able to read through 1,000 images or 1,000 CT scans, a machine learning system could actually read 250,000 images with much better improvements in accuracy than even the human brain could do,” said Dr. Viswanathan.  

 “We are not replacing radiologists,” she reiterated, but the speed with which low-risk screenings can be completed, undeniably frees up valuable provider time. 

Artificial Intelligence for Providers

Artificial Intelligence is taking things a step further, not just improving processes and speed, but machines can be trained so well they give providers cues. Dr. Viswanathan ran through practical examples of how AI is being used at BayCare to transcribe patient conversations into electronic health records, catching when something needs to be addressed, and even setting up next actions that will need to be taken. 

“The AI system is thinking and saying, ‘did you forget something? Did you forget to code for diabetes? The patient who you saw has hypertension, heart disease, but also has diabetes, and you forgot to mention diabetes,’” she illustrated. 

 The simplification and the cognitive relief the AI provides could go a long way toward alleviating burnout, a critical industry-wide problem.  

“Imagine if a nurse is having an interaction and is having a conversation with a patient, and she does not have to go back to her desk to write up the entire nursing notes,” Dr. Viswanathan described. 

Indeed, we asked our audience of healthcare summit attendees about their challenges to revolutionizing the patient experience, and nearly a quarter of respondents cited staff burnout as the biggest challenge. 

What is your biggest challenge revolutionizing the patient experience? 

(Poll results from GDS Group Healthcare Summit) 


Conversational AI for Patients

Speaking of patient experience, AI is playing a role in making improvements there. Dr. Viswanathan shared the pilot BayCare is conducting with AI-driven technology in patient rooms. In this pilot, each patient room is equipped with a voice-activated Alexa. Even if the nurse is not currently at the patient’s bedside, the patient can ask Alexa for some ice chips, for example, without needing to get up, and the AI will send the request to the nurse. Even if the nurse is with another patient, the AI will send a response to the patient to say the ice chips are on the way.

“This is a startling example of how technology is enabling patient satisfaction,” said Dr. Viswanathan. “It’s not just the ice chips. It’s the emergent need of a patient, and the instant communication that occurs through technology.”

How Do We Get There?

Adoption was a challenge, Dr. Viswanathan said. It can be hard to get buy-in when people are resisting change and not open to working with new technology. We asked our audience what gets in the way of promoting a culture of innovation at their organizations, and 50% agreed, saying resistance to change and legacy mindset is the biggest challenge.

What is your biggest challenge in promoting a culture of innovation at your organization? 

 (Poll results from GDS Group Healthcare Summit) 

Part of what helped at BayCare, encouraged Dr. Viswanathan, was timing. With providers feeling so burned out, they were more open to trying something that could reduce burden.

“They were willing to take on and try anything that could help them deliver care, because they felt like, ‘I need to be here for the patient,’” she recalled.

And this is where we’ve circled back to the heart of healthcare: humans caring for the health of humans. With a little help from technology.


The transformation of healthcare through technological advancements is undoubtedly reshaping the industry, but it is crucial to strike a balance between the use of machines and the human touch. BayCare Health System’s innovative approach exemplifies how technology can enhance patient care while maintaining the importance of human-to-human interaction. From machine learning in radiology to artificial intelligence aiding providers and conversational AI improving the patient experience, BayCare showcases the potential benefits of integrating technology into healthcare. By leveraging technology as a complement to human care, healthcare professionals can streamline processes, alleviate burnout, and ultimately deliver better quality care to patients. As we move forward, embracing technological innovations while prioritizing the human element will be key in transforming healthcare for the better. 

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