Fighting AI

People attend a protest outside of Kaiser Medical Center over the use of AI technology in San Francisco on Monday, April 22, 2024.

This article is reprinted from the Speak Out Now healthcare newsletter at Kaiser and Highland Hospitals in Oakland, CA.

About two weeks ago, nurses rallied in front of the Kaiser SF facility to protest the rapid introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI) at Kaiser, and the lack of transparency in how these technologies are being implemented in patient care.

Recently Kaiser has been using programs powered by AI, such as Epic, to determine how much staffing is needed to support patients each shift. However, nurses often notice that the staffing levels recommended by the AI is much lower than what it would truly require to perform all tasks needed to give patients the best health care possible. This all appears like another way for management to cut corners.

What is more, the lack of transparency about this technology just takes more decision making power and control from those that actually do the work, the nurses themselves. In other words, this recent nurse protest was a way to call attention to how often the Kaiser administration prefers to rely on so-called “labor saving” technology rather than listening to the very workers that make patient care possible every day.