Nvidia announces AI-powered ‘agents’ to replace nurses in hospitals

Image of NVIDIA via YouTube / Futurism

Because we’re living in a dystopian healthcare hell, AI chip maker Nvidia has announced a partnership with an AI company called Hippocratic AI to replace nurses with strange AI “agents.”

These fake nurse robots cost hospitals and other healthcare providers $9 an hour, a rate that barely falls above the US minimum hourly wage and well below the average hourly wage for registered nurses ( RN).

In a press release, Hippocratic AI described the nurses as disturbingly cheap as part of an effort to mitigate staffing issues. The company also says the agents won’t be doing any diagnostic work, but instead will be doing “low-risk,” “patient-facing” tasks that can be done via video call.

Nvidia showed what such a call might look like in a demo video in which a very inhuman-feeling AI “nurse” consults with a post-appendectomy patient, offering aftercare advice and answering questions about whether certain antibiotics are safe for the patient, who says they are allergic to penicillin and diabetic, to take. The exchange goes flawlessly, as controlled and advertised demos usually do. Hippocratic AI also claims that, based on its own research, AI agents generally outperform their human counterparts in most categories.

But with all that said, is giving medical instructions to a hospital patient really a “low risk” order? It’s hard to believe that bottling pre- and post-care nursing tasks into what looks like a glorified customer service chatbot is the sound, ethical response to the nursing crisis that Hippocratic AI is praising its technology for.

In addition, public health experts and RNs themselves say the nursing staffing crisis that has culminated in historically large nurse strikes in recent years is not the result of sky-high nursing salaries that call for a quick fix of automation, but has occurred. caused by cutting hospital costs leading to abysmal working conditions, unfair contracts and low wages.

“Labor is the biggest expense in health care, so how do you make money? Reduce your labor costs,” said Janette Dill, a professor of health policy and management at the University of Minnesota. CNN last January amid major nursing strikes in New York City. “Your nursing workforce is your largest workforce.”

Hippocratic AI’s marketing for its unrealistic nurses also appears to misrepresent the average nurse’s salary. On its website, the AI ​​company claims that based on survey data from 2017, the average “all-in” cost for a “permanent, full-time” RN is about $90 per hour, a figure that, before taxes, would mean a nurse earned more than $180,000 a year. (You know, because RNs make six figures famous).

But how futurism sister site Popular Science notes, a much more recent 2022 US Bureau of Labor Statistics survey puts the median RN salary at $38.74 an hour, which would be less than $80,000 per hundred thousand dollars more or less than the Hippocratic AI estimate! one year.

“With generative AI, the incremental cost of health access and interventions tends to zero,” the Hippocratic AI website adds, arguing that language models “are the only scalable way” to close the gap between demands for health personnel and the lack of “manpower supply”. ” For sure.

Look, the hospitals they are have staff shortages, and these shortages affect patient care. But the idea that six-figure nursing salaries are to blame rather than a generally broken healthcare system is deeply flawed. And broadly speaking, when it comes to bare-bones job-replacing AI “agents,” we’d all be better off calling them what they are: a cheap way to automate labor than a company or institution no longer wanted to pay. for

Learn more about AI and healthcare: Doctors using AI to automatically generate clinical notes about patients

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Image Source : futurism.com

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