Nurses protest ‘untested’ AI technology use in hospitals

Nurses in San Francisco, California recently took to the streets to protest use of artificial intelligence in healthcare. Hundreds of nurses protested on April 22 in front of Kaiser Permanente’s San Francisco Medical Center and said they are concerned with using the “untested” technology and the risks it could pose to their patients.

The following is an excerpt from Becker’s Hospital Review.

Some nurses objected to a platform in the Epic EHR that determines nurse staffing based on real-time charting. Cathy Kennedy, RN, neonatal intensive care nurse at Kaiser’s Roseville (Calif.) Medical Center and a nursing union leader, told the San Francisco Standard that if nurses don’t log charts right away the next shift could be short-staffed.

Other nurses said it might not account for their time-sensitive work that can’t easily be measured, such as educating patient family members or preparing for chemotherapy treatments before a patient arrives, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

“We are the providers at the bedside, we know how to take care of patients best,” Amy Grewal, RN, an oncology nurse at Kaiser Permanente Fresno (Calif.) Medical Center, told the Chronicle. “No algorithm can tell us.”

Another nurse complained about an AI chatbot at Kaiser Permanente that patients can talk to instead of a nurse, according to the Standard. But what if a patient is having a heart attack and the chatbot doesn’t understand — because it wasn’t trained on the correct medical terminology — when a nurse would have? “The AI might direct them to the pharmacy, not to a doctor,” Michelle Gutierrez Vo, BSN, RN, a president of the California Nursing Association and registered nurse at Kaiser Permanente Fremont (Calif.) Medical Center, told the news outlet.

Melissa Beebe, RN, an oncology nurse at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, Calif., lamented to the Standard that an AI tool that monitors patient vital signs often issues false alarms. A hospital spokesperson told the news outlet she was “fear-mongering,” noting that the platform has been in place since May 2022. “The concern is that this [technology] will take jobs — it will not,” the spokesperson said. “It will make their jobs easier.”

Kaiser Permanente has an Advance Alert Monitor in place at 21 Northern California hospitals that analyzes EHR data to detect patient deterioration. The Oakland, Calif.-based health system says the tool saves about 500 lives a year, but nurses told KQED it can produce erroneous notifications or miss patients who are in decline. “There’s just so much buzz right now that this is the future of healthcare.

These healthcare corporations are using this as a shortcut, as a way to handle patient load. And we’re saying ‘No. You cannot do that without making sure these systems are safe,'” Ms. Gutierrez Vo told the news outlet. “Our patients are not lab rats.”

A spokesperson for Kaiser Permanente told Becker’s that its technologies “empower” nurses by allowing them to “work more effectively” and that “physicians and care teams are always at the center of decision-making with our patients.”

Link to article here.

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12 thoughts on “Nurses protest ‘untested’ AI technology use in hospitals”

  1. Here we go – again. The technocrats think they have the answers to a system thats been in place for a long time. Nurses who are the bedside caregivers are being brushed away with the explanation we, the hospital administrators, know better. Just trust AI, its the answer. Another fool hardly assumption based on little science. Rather the answer, just trust us. We’ve learned from the covid19 NOT to trust the “experts”.

  2. For this system to work, it needs to be tracked and trained on what real nurses do.
    Nurses must refuse to allow information on their behavior to be used to train an AI.
    No machine will ever have the imagination, inspiration and intuition of a trained and alert professional.
    Management tracks and trains on your performance so that you can be replaced, period.
    What would “make the job easier” is having more nurses around to help.
    No machine can look into a patient’s eyes and will them to live until they reach the operating theater.

  3. As an RN and APRN for 42 years and still going at it, the digitalization of health care in order to justify expense as well as deny payment if not meeting the never ending codes and rules designed by hidden bureaucrats with hidden agendas, has led to burnt out nurses, doctors, managers and frustrated patients. There is no code for empathy, no billable diagnosis for time spent explaining or comforting. Computers and electronic medical records are no panacea for caring. Sad to say, it’s only going to get worse. Doctors are being shaped to follow algorithms and its only a step away from health care being administered like the menus at a fast food restaurant–picture of the disease and here are your options.

  4. If it comes from Hospital administration it’s pure bull sit. Healthcare is only about the bottom line, not patients. I was a hospital pt staffer for 44yrs. have seen the change and it’s only gone downhill.

  5. Excuse me, but…the “healthcare system” is the 4th leading cause of death in the united states.

    They’re worried about the safety of their patients…NOW?!?!?

  6. Maximizing profits are of the utmost importance.

    Get yourself healthy as possible, it is only going to get worse.

  7. What’s crazy is that we have many studies that show that when hospitals try to save money by replacing RNs with less qualified staff, patient outcomes decline. And in the long run, costs go up because patients are harmed, stays are extended, or patients are readmitted.
    Now they want to replace RNs with AI. I can only imagine what the health outcomes in the long-term will be. But I guess this fits the eugenics model that the elites have in mind for us.

  8. Recognizing Truth

    Computer, activate emergency medical hologram.
    (EMH appears)
    Please state the nature of the medical emergency…

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