World Class Faculty & Research / November 15, 2021

Speaking to Students, Gao Outlines the Power of AI in Healthcare

Gao Outlines the Power of AI in Healthcare

When we think about AI, we don’t normally picture it evaluating telehealth calls or monitoring patients after surgery. But those are some of the ways that artificial intelligence is transforming healthcare, says Maryland Smith’s Gordon Gao.

In the final event of the Undergraduate Research series, Gao, professor of decision, operations and information technologies at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, described how Smith students can be part of that transformation.

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” said Gao, who is also the director of the Health Insights AI Lab, and co-director of the Center for Health Information and Decision Systems (CHIDS) at Maryland Smith. “We’re trying to make healthcare more measurable so doctors understand how best to manage patients.”

Determining how much a doctor is paid after a surgery is one healthcare problem for AI. After doctors perform surgeries, insurance companies review the doctor’s notes to determine how risky the surgery was – the higher the risk, the higher the doctor is paid. While the patient’s condition is manually entered and coded from the doctor’s notes, the medical condition is often not well captured in the data.

“We miss a lot of critical information when looking at only the numeric values of variables alone,” said Gao. “Our job is to use AI and natural language processing to code doctor’s notes and automate this process, making it easier for coders while giving insurance companies more precise information about risk.”

Gao also discussed how he and his team used AI to identify opportunities to improve telehealth visits.

“There are complex reasons behind health conditions,” Gao said. “We wanted to use AI to examine how these telehealth visits could be improved.”

Gao emphasized that technology in the healthcare industry is always evolving and there are many more opportunities for students to get involved.

“At the Smith School, we are training the business leaders of tomorrow,” Gao said. “You will need to know AI in order to be an effective leader.”

Gao was speaking to students as part of the undergraduate research series. Previous events included sessions from Maryland Smith’s Gilad Chen and Rajshree Agarwal.

By Laura Hayes. Hayes is a 2022 MBA Candidate and a Forté and Smith Fellow. Originally from Gaithersburg, Md., Hayes worked in marketing roles for four years in the financial services industry before coming to Maryland Smith.


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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and flex MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, business master’s, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.

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