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Spring 2023

Editor’s Note: Beyond the Realm of Science Fiction
By Kate Jackson
For The Record
Vol. 35 No. 2 P. 4

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been the stuff of movies for decades—speculative fiction like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, The Matrix, Minority Report, and, of course, A.I. Artificial Intelligence—films that imagined what the world would be like if human intelligence could be replaced by machine-generated intelligence. Once the stuff of science fiction, it’s increasingly part of our daily lives in ways we may not even recognize. And now, it’s inescapable, fully outside the realm of the imagination. Today, AI is everywhere you look, everywhere you listen: the nightly news, the daily newspaper, social media.

Virtually everyone by now knows at least a little bit about some applications of AI; for example, ChatGPT is just one of many existing models that’s inspiring companies to rush to create the next best thing. I used it to generate in two seconds this definition of artificial intelligence: “It’s the branch of computer science that focuses on creating intelligent machines that can perform tasks that typically require human intelligence. AI systems are designed to learn and improve over time, using algorithms and data to identify patterns and make decisions.”

Applications of AI are pervasive in health care and HIM processes and are multiplying rapidly. They’re used to improve coding accuracy, aid in clinical decision support, identify documentation errors and duplications, reduce costs, and much more. It’s featured in this issue’s HIM Challenges department, which looks at the importance of patient data integrity in AI and advanced analytics. It makes an appearance in the Health IT Happenings department, which looks at the way it’s being used in revenue cycle departments to ease staffing shortages and help retain personnel. And in the Audit Alley department, AI and natural language processing are discussed as tools for helping payer organizations review charts for Medicare Advantage members. It’s also front and center in one of this issue’s features, “Clinical Documentation Integrity’s Technological Evolution.”

There’s little doubt that AI’s role in HIM will continue to be a significant part of the editorial in For the Record as HIM professionals increasingly are tasked with understanding its potential and at the same time recognizing its flaws and pitfalls. The future of AI is now.

— Kate Jackson