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Despite the challenge of implementing it, home care leaders touted artificial intelligence as a “game changer” that could potentially revolutionize nearly every aspect of healthcare delivery.

“There’s nothing that won’t be touched in our industry by AI in some way, shape or form,” Jeff Salter, chief executive officer of Caring Senior Services, said in a panel discussion Monday at the 2023 Home Care Association of America National Conference.

One of the most exciting uses for AI, according to Salter, is that it gives providers an opportunity to make sense of unstructured, difficult to interpret data. For example, AI can identify and analyze isolation better than more basic algorithm-based technologies, which require detailed, laborious data entry on the part of caregivers, Salter said. By utilizing AI, caregivers can more efficiently prescribe care for a lonely patient.

Everything from scheduling, patient-caregiver matching, analysis of shift notes and clinical documentation has the potential to be made easier by AI, according to Wyatt Godfrey, vice president of technology at senior care provider Right at Home. But these advancements will not come easily, the panel agreed. Resistance to new technologies on the part of employees and clients can pose challenges for providers looking to implement cutting-edge tools.

“There’s definitely going to be continued pushback from people that are not knowledgeable, so our job is to really help educate them on what we’re trying to accomplish and how it can benefit them,” Salter said in an interview with McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse following the session. The beginning stages of implementing new technology can be the hardest, he noted, and so change management is key.

To make this transition easier, it’s wise to find AI solutions that not only work well with existing technologies, but seamlessly integrate into the systems that are already in place. AI tools embedded into other software reduce the number of logins an employee performs throughout the workday, which can reduce operational efficiency and can lead to burnout, according to Godfrey.

“Because of AI, the types of things that will be critical to your employees and staff will be different,” Godfrey said. In the next three to five years, everything from hiring practices to office management will be changed by AI, so the people must be able to adapt alongside, he said.

In Arizona, Cypress HomeCare Solutions has been exploring AI applications that can help offset rising care costs. Company co-founder and Managing Partner Bob Roth expressed his excitement for the technology in the panel discussion.

“This isn’t something you should be scared of, but it’s something that will help us do our jobs better,” Roth said. “And at the end of the day, we’re going to have happier clients and we’re going to keep them at home because that’s where they want to be.”