Managing Your Practice

Artificial intelligence in your office


It is difficult to go through any publication or website these days without finding an article about artificial intelligence (AI). Many discuss its current status, while others speculate on potential future applications. Often, AI is described as an “existential threat to human health” by commentators who aren’t even aware of the definition of that term as Kierkegaard conceived it, the role of the individual to breathe meaning into life. Others characterize such cataclysmic predictions as “overblown and misdirected”.

The long-term potential for abuse of AI requires discussion, and should be addressed by policy makers, but that is beyond the scope of this column.

Dr. Joseph S. Eastern, a dermatologist in Belleville, N.J.

Dr. Joseph S. Eastern

Meanwhile, there are many near-term opportunities for AI to improve health care and reduce tedious and time consuming tasks. Specifically, some AI-based tools are available to use in your office right now, with no “existential” threat to anybody.

The most popular current AI-based medical applications are automated scribes. They transcribe live consultations between physician and patient automatically and create a searchable report, plus notes for charts and billing.

I’ve written about AI scribes before, but the quality and user-friendliness of these products have improved dramatically in recent years. Language processing capabilities now permit you to speak naturally, without having to memorize specific commands. Some scribes can mimic your writing style based on sample notes that you enter into the system. Others allow you to integrate your own knowledge base, or a bibliography of research studies. With some systems, you can dictate notes directly into most EHR software, ask questions regarding medication dosages, or access a patient’s medical history from hospitals or other offices.

Current popular medical scribe products include DeepCura, DeepScribe, Nuance, Suki, Augmedix, Tali AI, Iodine Software, and ScribeLink. Amazon Web Services recently launched its own product, HealthScribe, as well. (As always, I have no financial interest in any product or service mentioned in this column.)

AI scribes aren’t entirely autonomous, of course; you need to read the output and check for potential inaccuracies. Still, users claim that they substantially reduce documentation and charting time, permitting more patient visits and less after-hours work.

AI can also be used to provide useful content for your patients. If you are not particularly good at writing, or don’t have the time for it, generative algorithms like the much-vaunted ChatGPT can generate posts, FAQs, and other informational content for your website, blog, or social media pages. You can ask for ideas about timely health topics and write general information articles, or create content specific to your location or specialty. You can use it to write emails informing your patients about upcoming office events or educate them on a range of topics, from getting their annual flu shots to scheduling regular screening skin exams.

With some of the same techniques and additional software, you can create entire videos for your website at a fraction of the cost of hiring a video production team. After using ChatGPT to write the content – for example, a 5-minute script on the importance of sunscreen in preventing skin cancer – you can employ a text-to-speech algorithm such as Revoicer to transform the script into audio content, and then a preproduction algorithm like Yepic or Synthesia to generate a video with a synthetic human.

If you are unhappy with your current online presence, you can use AI to create an entire website. Through a series of questions, AI website builders such as Wix ADI, Jimdo, Hostinger, and 10Web gather all the information needed to set up a website draft that is already personalized with medical-specific content. Most offer the option to connect to Instagram, Facebook, Google My Business, and similar sites, to which they can import your office’s logo, images, and descriptive texts.

Some of them are capable of pulling up responsive site pages that automatically adjust to the device – mobile or computer – that the visitor is using. This is important, as I’ve written before, because more than half of all searches for doctors are now made on smartphones, so the more “mobile friendly” your site is, the higher it will be ranked. You can test how easily a visitor can use your website on a mobile device with Google’s free Mobile-Friendly Test.

If you give talks at medical meetings, you know how cumbersome and time-consuming it can be to create Powerpoint presentations. Once again, AI can save you time and trouble. Presentation designers such as Presentations.AI, Deck Robot, iA Presenter, and Beautiful.AI can assemble very acceptable presentations from your primary inputs. You typically choose a template, input your basic data, and AI will format the slides and offer you visuals, animations, voice-overs, and other fancy features. You will also have flexibility in changing segments or images or sizes you don’t like.

Dr. Eastern practices dermatology and dermatologic surgery in Belleville, N.J. He is the author of numerous articles and textbook chapters, and is a longtime monthly columnist for Dermatology News. Write to him at

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