Dr. Michael R. Williams, President of the UNT Health Science Center, parlayed problems of the past and present into a vision of the future that has more compassionate providers and practice and presentation advances because of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

Williams was the keynote speaker at the Fort Worth Chamber’s Health Care Symposium in September 25th at PalmWood in the Frost Tower. He diagrammed what value means to him: Value = quality outcomes & experiences divided by costs. “We’re fighting a crisis of value,” Dr. Williams said.

He outlined many of today’s problems:

  • Employers can’t keep up with rising costs and an aging population.
  • Increased governmental regulations and greater overhead costs;
  • Prices for pharmacology and specialty drugs are not sustainable;
  • Physician performance and provider burnout;
  • 10 percent of patients account for 80 percent of costs.
  • One in six patients seeks a second opinion; 60 percent of second opinions are different and add to costs.
  • 30 percent of costs – errors, waste and second opinions — could be better controlled.

Dr. Williams’ vision is not nearly so painful. “AI and machine learning will dramatically help in diagnoses” and is predictive for many illnesses, including PTSD.

He sees retail medicine becoming the norm and producing at higher levels. Integrations with retailers, such as Walgreens and CVS, will become more prevalent.

It is the provider-patient relationship that Dr. Williams is cheerleading for change. “Patients want physicians with empathy. They want them ‘present’ during the exam … Did you know physicians, on average, interrupt their patients within the first 18 seconds of the conversation? They are not listening. They have been taught to provide solutions.

“Patients want to be touched. But the gown rarely comes off during a visit.”

Dr. Williams envisions providers that have the time for humanization with patients, that have better social skills, the time to listen, to lead and to have empathy.

He also wants providers to accept life-long learning. “Most stop learning after 5-to-7 years,” he said. Dr. Williams said that needs to change. “More training.”

He said genetic advances will mean a mass customization of health plans for each individual. That should lead to correct diagnoses, correct surgeries and correct answers.

For Texas, Dr. Williams expects “care anywhere … home, hospital, retail spaces and virtual care.” Healthcare providers will need to … deliver “human-to-human” care.

He expects a continuation, though at a faster growth rate, of the care coordination between providers, hospitals and systems. He predicted to attendees: “Care customization … If you live long enough, each of you will have a health coach.”

Presenting Sponsor of the Health Care Symposium was Capital One Bank.

A future Chamber Update will have a recap article of the future view of healthcare according to five leaders of hospitals and healthcare systems in Fort Worth that participated in a panel discussion.