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Generative artificial intelligence tools have triggered a flood of speculation about the technology’s ability to make doctors more efficient and relieve the documentation burdens that clog their workdays.

A project at three large health systems will now put those claims to the test, using AI built through a partnership between Microsoft and the health records vendor Epic to help doctors respond to patients’ questions in online portals. The effort was launched at the annual gathering of the Health Information Management Systems Society in Chicago, where much of the industry gathered this week to discuss ways to leverage the rapid advances in AI.


“There are real opportunities we haven’t seen before,” said Michael Pfeffer, the chief information officer at Stanford Health Care, one of the three systems involved in the project, which also includes UW Health of Madison, Wis., and UC San Diego.  “But we have to be smart about it.”

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