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The high hopes — and high stakes — behind Microsoft and Epic’s plan to use AI to answer patient questions

Generative artificial intelligence tools have triggered a flood of speculation about the technology’s ability to make doctors more efficient and relieve the documentation burdens that clog their workdays.

A project at three large health systems will now put those claims to the test, using AI built through a partnership between Microsoft and the health records vendor Epic to help doctors respond to patients’ questions in online portals. The effort was launched at the annual gathering of the Health Information Management Systems Society in Chicago, where much of the industry gathered this week to discuss ways to leverage the rapid advances in AI.

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