These AI Nurse Like “Agents” Cost $9 Per Hour - Threat or Help To Human Nurses?

4 Min Read Published March 21, 2024
These AI Nurse Like “Agents” Cost $9 Per Hour - Threat or Help To Human Nurses?

NVIDIA recently announced a partnership with healthcare startup Hippocratic AI to develop AI-powered “agents” intended to act as nurses and provide basic medical advice to patients. The voice-based “AI healthcare agents" can be seen in a YouTube video depicting a patient conversing with the bot. 

“Voice-based digital agents powered by generative AI can usher in an age of abundance in healthcare, but only if the technology responds to patients as a human would,” said Kimberly Powell, Nvidia’s VP of Healthcare, said on Monday

Replacing Some Nursing Duties

The core idea behind the NVIDIA and Hippocratic AI collaboration is to create virtual assistants that can take over certain basic nursing duties, such as providing initial patient assessments, routine check-ins, and basic health advice. According to Hippocratic AI, the AI agents will cost only $9 per hour which is a fraction of the hourly rate for human nurses, which could potentially allow healthcare facilities to cut costs substantially. In addition to cost savings, the AI agents could help alleviate some nurse duties that are overwhelming nurses and allow nurses to focus more on the duties that matter most to patients. 

The AI agents will utilize NVIDIA’s state-of-the-art natural language processing technology and deep learning platforms. The start-up aims to have the first agents ready for pilot testing at select hospitals in 2023.

Hippocratic AI

AI Could Lighten Nurse’s Workload 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) could revolutionize healthcare by lightening the load of nurses, allowing them to focus more on delivering high-quality direct patient care. Through automation and smart algorithms, AI can streamline administrative tasks such as scheduling, documentation, and data entry, freeing up nurses' time for meaningful interactions with patients. 

AI-powered systems can also assist in clinical decision-making by analyzing vast amounts of patient data to identify patterns, predict potential complications, and recommend personalized treatment plans. By delegating mundane tasks to AI, nurses can devote their expertise and attention to providing compassionate care, enhancing patient outcomes, and fostering stronger patient-nurse relationships. Ultimately, integrating AI into healthcare workflows has the potential to optimize efficiency, improve patient satisfaction, and alleviate the burden on nursing staff.

Dr. Dan Weberg, PhD, MHI, RN, FAAN, offered his perspective on the emergence of AI healthcare aides, stating, "Nurses are licensed and bound to an ethical and professional conduct. Bots follow rules and access vast information. Bots can support nurses. They cannot be nurses."

Nurse Zach Smith points out in his LinkedIn post - this shouldn’t serve as a reason for hospitals to increase nurse’s workloads.

Aimee Bailey, Healthcare Innovator and Data Strategist, also offered her thoughts on this story. 

Will AI Replace Nurses? 

AI replacing nurses is extremely unlikely. However, if done with care, AI may have a role to play in alleviating the growing nursing shortage and making healthcare more efficient. However, human nurses will likely always be irreplaceable when it comes to providing the emotional and psychological care that patients need. 

@the.nurse.erica This is concerning! #greenscreen #fyp #foryourpage #AI #nurse #thenurseerica ♬ original sound - TheNurseErica

AI robots have been assisting nurses for years now at hospitals around the world, with positive results. Additionally, last year, Google introduced new artificial intelligence (AI) tools aimed at enhancing healthcare efficiency, unveiling a suite of products specifically tailored to streamline existing prior authorization processes.

The future of healthcare should have room for both humans and technology.

Youtube video

Concerns About Impacts on Nursing Jobs

While NVIDIA and Hippocratic AI promote AI nursing assistants as a way to improve efficiency, some nurses and healthcare experts have raised concerns about potential job losses. They argue that if AI agents take over more basic nursing duties, many traditional nursing roles could become redundant.

With the nursing shortage expected to worsen in coming years, many argue healthcare facilities should focus on supporting and expanding the nursing workforce, not replacing it.

Questions About Ethical AI

Along with potential impacts on nursing jobs, there are also questions about whether AI agents will ever be able to replicate the emotional and social aspects of human nursing care. Nurses do not just provide medical advice - they offer compassion, empathy, and a human touch, which many patients value highly.

Hippocratic AI

More research is needed into how patients will respond to receiving medical advice and monitoring from an AI agent rather than a human nurse. Early trials will shed light on whether AI can provide the level of empathetic, holistic care that nurses are known for.

Additionally, in 2023, President Joe Biden issued an executive order tasking the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with crafting guidelines and oversight protocols for artificial intelligence systems utilized within the healthcare sector. Representing a comprehensive approach, this policy marks the inaugural endeavor to regulate AI in healthcare, with the overarching goal of fostering responsible development that safeguards individuals' rights and privacy.

What's Next For The AI Nurse Assistants?

The NVIDIA and Hippocratic AI collaboration represents a major milestone in bringing AI into healthcare. But it also surfaces key concerns from nurses and industry experts about potential impacts on the nursing profession and patient care.

As the technology continues to develop, all stakeholders will need to be at the table - including healthcare facilities, tech companies, policymakers, patient rights groups, and nurses' unions. The goal should be integrating AI ethically and responsibly - not using it to replace dedicated nursing professionals.

Angelina Walker
Angelina Walker
Director of Nursing Content and Social Media

Angelina has her finger on the pulse of everything nursing. Whether it's a trending news topic, valuable resource or, heartfelt story, Angelina is an expert at producing content that nurses love to read. She specializes in warmly engaging with the nursing community and exponentially growing our social presence.

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