Many of us have grown up on a healthy diet of R2-D2, Skynet, Autobots, JARVIS and the Matrix. What was a mere notion – artificial intelligence, bots and algorithms coexisting with and influencing our lives – has now become integral to what we do, both personally and professionally. AI is disrupting the very core of how we interact, both with our fellow humans and with technology.

The impact on our professional lives is particularly significant. Advancements in digital technology are no longer just about bottom-line improvements or creating the next Uber; they’re about identifying ways to enhance our uniquely human capabilities through digital enablement. The result: more meaningful interactions and transactions in our work lives.

By collaborating with the new machines, we can become better at “being human” in how we perform our work, whether we’re caregivers, lawyers, bankers or customer service reps. When we let digital technologies do what they do best – and enable humans to focus on what they do best – we can impact the business much more dramatically than either could accomplish on its own.

Collaborating Where It Counts

We’re seeing this at Narayana Health, an India-based hospital network that we’re partnering with to improve its post-operative care for patients in the intensive care unit (ICU).

In a typical ICU, medical practitioners and caregivers endeavor to administer precise, rapid care, even while they rely on heavily manual documentation processes. Everything from patient progress and vital stats, to lab work and medication dosages is recorded and stored on reams of paper. Even small margins of human error could negatively impact the quality of patient care and outcomes, such as delayed diagnosis, medication errors and faulty patient histories. In the U.S. alone, medical error is the third-leading cause of death, after heart disease and cancer.

Narayana Health sought to enable nursing staff to focus on the work of caregiving by applying digital to process efficiencies and elimination of human error in the ICU. The goal: improve outcomes even while treating more patients by freeing up the resources needed to provide care.

A Human-Centered Approach

Just as we aimed to use digital technology to emphasize the human capabilities of Narayana’s medical staff, we also took a human-centered approach to formulating a solution:

  • We embedded a research team into Narayana’s ICU in Bangalore for six months to observe daily interactions among caregivers and patients.
  • Our team then determined how staffing levels, time of day, severity of cases and patient load affected the ability to effectively manage patient care.
  • We produced multiple prototypes, directly on an iPad, at the point of care, to elicit feedback from the ICU staff.
  • We conducted several studies to identify different caregiver personas, in terms of their interaction with patients, hospital devices and systems.

Using this human-centered approach, we developed a technical architecture to standardize, digitize and automate clinical processes. The solution integrated the ICU ecosystem of data sources, including information from medical devices and existing hospital systems. It also enabled tailored alerts and indicators related to patient state. Because the system could churn through data much more quickly and effectively, it reduced dependence on the vigilance of medical staff, who could focus on patient care.

The Benefits of Collaboration

The project generated two simultaneous benefits:

  • First, it brought a degree of automation at the point-of-care, resulting in greater operational efficiencies for nurses.
  • Second, it introduced standardization through protocol-driven care. This reduced the need for human oversight over standard processes by 80%, and increased nursing efficiency by 45%. Nurses were freed to provide better care to patients, and ICU stays were reduced by 15%.

At the end of the day, it’s exciting to watch the developing capabilities of digital technologies. However, it’s far more rewarding to see what humans and the new machines can accomplish when they work together.

Join Sowri Krishnan at Adobe Summit in Las Vegas March 20-23, where he will further explore the intersection between “being digital” and being human. Please stop by our booth to learn about our vision of digital business’s interactive future. Cognizant is a Diamond sponsor at Adobe Summit.  

Sowri Krishnan

Sowri Krishnan

Sowri is Senior Vice-President at Cognizant Digital Business, heading the company’s Interactive and Cloud Lift business, globally. He has 20-plus years of... Read more