medical professionals looking down at chart

Healthcare Innovations Powered by AI Technology

Get ready to be enlightened on the transformative role of AI in healthcare with our special guest, Linda Travis Macomber, an associate professor at National University and a health tech pioneer. In this captivating conversation, Linda draws from her diverse experiences, spanning from her early days as a nurse in Michigan to spearheading a billion-dollar project with the military in San Diego. This episode promises a fascinating journey into the past, present, and future of health tech and electronic health records.

We're discussing how AI and technology breakthroughs are shaping the healthcare industry, and why it feels like history is repeating itself. Linda shares valuable insights on how curiosity and lifelong learning are pivotal in navigating the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare technology. The conversation evolves further to discuss the development of AI-based systems, propelled by the evolution of hardware. This segment dissects how digitization and telehealth became game-changers during the global pandemic, revolutionizing the healthcare landscape.

Finally, we delve deeper into how AI is amplifying our intelligence and transforming healthcare. Linda provides critical insights into AI's role in early cancer detection, synthesizing information, and providing decision support to healthcare professionals. Also, get a glimpse of the promising Renaissance Health Initiative, aiming to create an environment where everyone can use AI tools to become more effective. Lastly, we reflect on how AI is making an impact not just on healthcare but also on education. Get ready to be informed, inspired, and intrigued by the powerful potential of AI in revolutionizing healthcare. Tune in!

Show Notes

  • 0:00:11 - Health Innovations and AI in Education (46 Seconds)
  • 0:05:17 - The Adoption of Technology in Healthcare (89 Seconds)
  • 0:08:44 - Transitioning From Nursing to Tech (160 Seconds)
  • 0:13:24 - Evolution of Health Records Systems (63 Seconds)
  • 0:19:09 - AI Overcoming History's Physical Barriers (127 Seconds)
  • 0:24:11 - The Hype and Buzz Around AI (76 Seconds)
  • 0:28:23 - Advancements in Technology and Healthcare (101 Seconds)
  • 0:33:57 - AI's Impact on Healthcare Education (70 Seconds)
  • 0:41:22 - The Impact of AI in Healthcare (85 Seconds)
  • 0:50:05 - AI's Impact in Healthcare (126 Seconds)

0:00:01 - Announcer

You are listening to the National University Podcast.

0:00:10 - Kimberly King

Hello, I'm Kimberly King. Welcome to the National University Podcast, where we offer a holistic approach to student support, well-being and success - the whole human education. We put passion into practice by offering accessible, achievable higher education to lifelong learners. Today, we're discussing health innovations and AI according to the economist, the future of medical AI. In healthcare, there's a growing number of patients and too few doctors to treat them, so artificial intelligence can help cure some of these hurdles, offering advances ranging from more efficient diagnoses to safer treatments. More coming up on today's show.

On today's episode, we're discussing artificial intelligence and how that will impact the health community, and joining us is Linda Travis Macomber. And. Linda is an associate professor at National University and a health tech pioneer. After starting her career as a pediatric and ICU registered nurse, please help design, develop and launch landmark systems like the Department of Defense's CHCS and Kaiser Permanente's Health Connect. Over several decades, professor Macomber consulted with leading organizations like the National Institutes of Health, University of California, SAIC, LIDOS, HIMSS and IBM, along with many startup hospitals and clinics, traveling widely across all 50 states and five continents. In 2010, she founded the MS Health Informatics program and today enjoys developing future healthcare leaders and advancing digital health and AI through her teaching, consulting and Renaissance Health platform and we welcome her to the podcast. Linda, how are you? Super impressive introduction here.

0:02:05 - Linda Macomber

Oh goodness. Thank you so much, Kim, for the opportunity to share the stories.

0:02:12 - Kimberly King

Absolutely. Why don't you fill our audience in a little bit on your mission and your work before we get to today's show topic?

0:02:19 - Linda Macomber

Well, I focus a lot on the at the crossroads of health, innovation, and technology. So oftentimes it's a mission of healthcare but also of healing healthcare, and that takes a lot of people and a lot of perspectives, you know, beyond those that are on the front lines. So you know, with that, I mean, I guess I started- my mom was a research pharmacist in healthcare, my dad was an engineering, you know, naval officer and executive, and so I think I sort of grew up with health, tech and leadership and a lot of the opportunities to advance human health.

0:03:07 - Kimberly King

Well, good for you. And yeah, you're right, what a great upbringing and some role models in there. Interesting. So today we are talking about health innovations and discussing artificial intelligence and how that will impact the health community, and so let's first start with the digital health and health, health informatics, ai and healthcare. Can you walk us through this alphabet soup in regards to these terms?

0:03:33 - Linda Macomber

Yeah, I think healthcare has its own language, tech has its own language and sometimes that can be intimidating when really the concepts are straightforward and a lot of it is- It comes from history. As new things are created, we need new vocabulary and that, you know, is especially true as we enter this world of AI. You know, but some of the alphabet soup I mean. I said basically I've worked in health IT for many decades. Oftentimes that's the professional flavor of this intersection of health and technology and you know more, working with the hospitals and clinics and consulting firms and the health professionals and organizations.

And digital health really grew actually even out of out of San Diego a little more from the kind of direct to individuals. So you know that the whole realm of you know all of the incredible. You know from Fitbits to Apple Watches and diagnostics, things that we can monitor ourselves and know ourselves, but that generates a tremendous amount of data that you know. How do you find the signal and the important insights through all of that? So you know, certainly we need to connect those. So you have the digital health connecting with health, it and informatics.

You know sounds kind of intimidating but really it is that. That all of those applications of the technology and practice. So you know you have the tech folks that are creating it, and oftentimes it's a few people doing that, but we have a whole lot more of us that are using it. So how do you work on that adoption of innovation and technology into something as important as healthcare? That takes thought leaders and oftentimes those are people that you know they know enough about nursing and medicine and all of the health professions to help to innovate those areas.

0:05:37 - Kimberly King

So interesting, Linda, thank you, and really you are on the cusp of all of this relevant information and would you encourage others in healthcare to explore tech-oriented leadership career pathways?

0:05:52 - Linda Macomber

You know, I think it's kind of a hidden secret, in some ways. It's not like. You know you take an AP exam in high school on, you know digital health, and the adoption of technology into this area, but it's a huge area of our economy and you know what's more important than human life and so the years and in our lives and the lives and our years, and if there's some simple communications and technology that can help us with that, make it more cost effective, just make it better. It really is a growing area.

As technology advances and takes quantum incredible leaps, like it has in recently with AI, I think that the opportunities are tremendous in this area. I think it also really came alive for many people. You know, I was kind of I had to explain my career for decades to family, but now it's like, well, they have their health record on their phone and they're telling me all about it and oh Linda, is that what you've been doing? It's like, yes, actually you know. It's like exactly, you got it. You know -

But also, you know, the ability to empower. Instead of you going to healthcare, the healthcare comes to you. And that came alive during the pandemic right, and so it became real to a lot of people, a lot of the work that that I've been and many others have been doing for decades, and so I would highly encourage whether you're a healthcare professional and you want to maybe grow in your career over decades into areas. One path is administration. That everyone knows, but even the leaders and administrators, like health professionals, you know that if they have that extra edge of understanding how to adopt the technology into process, we need these leaders, so some come, grow up in tech and want to do something more meaningful with their lives and you know, health tech is an incredible opportunity. I've given many honorary RNs to a lot of you know tech folks over the decades. You know also, even you know people with business backgrounds and humanities backgrounds have actually come into this field. It really we need everybody.

0:08:25 - Kimberly King

Yeah, I mean, I think what an amazing and, like we said, it's innovative, it's groundbreaking, and I love that. How you explain C to your family. I have been doing something it just they didn't really always grasp it, so good for you and I think you're right about during the pandemic we all had a switch, a flip there. So can you shed some light on the experiences of being on the ground adventure here and health tech ventures?

0:08:54 - Linda Macomber

Well, I mean, I was starting my career as an ICU nurse in Boston and kind of immersed in the Harvard medical world. I'd been in undergrad as a nurse at University of Michigan and so you know, I was on the research and sort of academic forefront of things you know. But then I was opening up a brand new intensive care unit. You know, here you are in the heart of, you know, adjacent to Harvard Medical School, all the latest tech, and then in the middle of the night I'm handwriting a lot of stuff and doing a heck of a lot of paperwork and I was, you know, hoping to do more advanced patient care. And so I realized in graduate school at the same time there was a lot happening with technology and advancing technology and you know, the finance industry was becoming more digital and the opportunity to join this Boston Computer Society sounds kind of geeky. It actually kind of was. You know, seriously, like you know, before Steve Jobs was Steve Jobs. He wanted, you know, the Boston Computer Society to give it a thumbs up, and so it was huge at the time.

And I didn't even realize until I'd done some more AI research lately that I actually got to know people like Marvin Minsky and Claude Shannon, and these people are the founding fathers of artificial intelligence, but by the, you know, by later in their career, you know, they were interested in this new PC revolution and everything that was happening, and you know. So we got to meet them through the various professional organizations. So, you know, they were quite enamored with what's this young ICU nurse doing at you know, kind of with a bunch of MIT geeks. But, you know, it just seemed as though, you know, let's use this technology for where it really matters, and I was, you know, in the heart of that at the time. So you know, I ended up, you know, learning from them and from graduate school to really, you know, kind of launch into technology. Amazing.

0:11:14 - Kimberly King

And again, as you said, they're the fathers of AI. So, yeah, you've been involved in this track for again since the ground, so I think that's amazing. Kudos to you. How do you think these endeavors paved the way for others interested in healthcare, innovation and leadership today?

0:11:32 - Linda Macomber

Well, I think that it's important to be curious, you know, to look at what's around you. I mean, I could have just, you know, walked by the crowds at the Boston Computer Society instead of saying, hey, what's going on, and so, you know, being grateful to the news media and others to share some of the excitement. You know, certainly, going to graduate school, I had the opportunity to use some of the new computers at the time, so people today can do these same things. It's just, you know, with a new flavor of it, and hopefully, you know, the combination of that curiosity and education and really the, you know, the cross-disciplinary perspective, so that you're not only learning the technology but how we can really use it all in our daily lives and professional lives. Those things are, you know, they don't go away. It's just a new flavor and I hope that everyone has the opportunity to have a moonshot.

A lot of the startup culture, you know, talks about their moonshots and you know, the short story of mine was that I went to a professional conference in Washington DC and literally staring up at the capsule, the moonshot, in the big hall of the Air and Space Museum, you know, I was talking with someone, someone new, who I hadn't ever met.

You know, that's another, I guess you know tip to just simply learn from other people and sometimes, instead of you know complaining that you're in line for something, you know, just to have that conversation. And that changed my life because I was offered the opportunity to come to San Diego to work on the development team. For you know what became the CHCS system, which was really a very leading electronic health record ecosystem at the time. So here I was, you know this nurse from Michigan. Somehow I'm in the defense headquarters of, you know, SAIC in San Diego working with the military helping physicists who wanted to know about healthcare, because that wasn't really what they knew. So the career opportunities are incredible, for and sometimes you have no idea, you can't plan that in advance, right, but you can't prepare for it.

0:14:04 - Kimberly King

Yeah, yeah, and I love that you say be curious, you know, always ask those questions, be a lifelong learner and all of that. And just you never know who is in front of you. And as you are discussing the evolution of health and electronic health records and all I mean this is just fascinating. But can you walk us through that evolution and the associated systems over the years?

0:14:29 - Linda Macomber

Yeah, I mean I think that it was kind of a wild west back then and that there are, you know. So I had incredible opportunities, just simply, instead of just focusing in on one narrow area in healthcare and systems. It's almost like doing internships with lab and pharmacy and radiology, working with some founding fathers of the computer language not to get too techy, but some of the language that really runs most of our systems today was actually born in Mass General, with Octo Barnett in the lab, and I had worked with them. I had taught myself to program in this crazy language that was then called Mumps, but I had a unique skill set and that's why I was recruited to come to San Diego to work on this project. Wow. And then I mean it really was historic and we could put a historic plaque at the Scripps Healthcare in San Diego headquarters because that's where this incredible core electronic health record system was born.

And so what we did at the time that was unique was we integrated these systems together and we're still working on that today. Right, we're still working on connecting the puzzle pieces and the dots of the complexity that is the healthcare ecosystem, but major advances happened to connect all of these lab, pharmacy, radiology and up instead of lab pharmacy and radiology. We tried to progress it into a more human centric system, so a system that understood hearts, minds and lungs, because you could sort the information out and get insights out in much better ways. So that was incredibly helpful to really have one plan of care for a patient instead of having to sign into multiple computers and passwords and look up the patient again. And people still struggle with this today as you go across different healthcare systems and try to get that continuity of care. So, I mean that was a core foundation, yeah, and so at the time and actually the system has lasted the test of time, the system that we created.

I was the only nurse on the development team and there are thousands and thousands, countless thousands that have followed and the system has lasted over 30 years. It's still in practice. So we created most of it over the summer. It was kind of like a startup crazy culture, but there was a billion-dollar contract at the time. That was a bake-off competition, so it was pretty exciting to win that. We were not expected to win it. It was huge for the San Diego economy. We were working across time zones virtually as well as on-site. We did video conferences back in the 1980s with Washington to demonstrate our new tech, so it was fun to be a part of all of that.

0:17:39 - Kimberly King

I'm going to say you need a book and then a movie about your development. Good for you, I think it would.

0:17:47 - Linda Macomber

Yeah, some people have said this, you've got Silicon Valley out there, but you're kind of like a cross between all of the most exciting health shows and ER versus and tech. I was one of the few women, quite frankly as well, it was a little bit of like a sequel to Hidden Figures for NASA. I actually worked with.

NASA engineers, but it was new for women to be in this world and health tech was really a way, because for those that came after me, many had medical and nursing backgrounds, as well as pharmacy backgrounds to work on these systems and there were more women moving into tech and health tech.

0:18:39 - Kimberly King

I am just so impressed and congratulations for being one of the founding women in this, and again, when you've had boots on the ground, you said you know you were in the emergency rooms, you were working in pediatrics and all, and so you saw firsthand what was in need and I just I love your story. I think it's amazing and it's fascinating and I love that San Diego is on the map. I'm in San Diego as well, so good, I think, and what a great trek for you to end up in America's finest city. Have you observed any patterns or instances of history repeating itself?

0:19:15 - Linda Macomber

You know, I see it all the time right now with AI, and that's what is really exciting, because many of the things that you know we're new but it wasn't really as much about it. There's a piece of it that you have these incredible tech breakthroughs right, or you have, you know, some of the visionaries and they'll say it's like, oh gosh, these folks are crazy. Well, it's, you know, it's crazy, you know, until it's a breakthrough, it's kind of a crazy idea. However, you know, once you have the tech breakthroughs, you know, sometimes you know those that have a phenomenal computer science and other backgrounds don't realize there's still a lot of art and science, discovery, innovation to be able to take. Just because it works, that's exciting, but getting it to work for me, that's a whole other chapter and that's the part that I think is fun, because we need people who have studied the humanities, who can really meet people where they're at, to be able to say, wow, I'm working with my 97-year-old father and how do I make sure that I can connect with him on Alexa, that I can look up his health information and be a good daughter, even though there may be a distance physically between us.

So it's breaking through those physical barriers. And there are so many applications of that today where we can bring a nurse that's experienced, such as my generation of the baby boomers. And what if we can address some of the nursing challenges by making sure, I mean, there are baby boomer nurses that have incredible experiences and experience to share. But maybe it just doesn't make sense to work a 12-hour shift or a night shift, but that doesn't mean that you can't beam me in and help that young nurse. So, if you really want to advance healthcare, we've been doing a lot of telehealth, but there's a whole lot more that we can do with video consults to really help our healthcare professionals. And as I go back to my mission of healing healthcare, yeah, I love that.

0:21:36 - Kimberly King

And you mentioned taking care of your 97-year-old father. I was kind of on the cusp of both. I had my father passed 10 years ago to pancreatic cancer and it was ahead of the pandemic, of course. And then my mom was, just last year she passed from a 10-year journey from Alzheimer's and I really kind of had the best and the worst of both worlds, where with my father and that healthcare was really hands-on and in the doctor's office with him with my mom it had just transitioned to telehealth and boy was that so much easier. And so kudos to you for really guiding, being those guiding hands along this journey.

0:22:13 - Linda Macomber

Yeah, I mean. So certainly a lot of people think, oh hey, you just need to get the video conference going, but well, wait a minute, now you need to be able to get a prescription or to look up history of labs. All of what we did to get a lot of that foundation in place, with various digitization Of a lot of the information that flows through healthcare, that's helping to empower, and I can't imagine where we would have been with the pandemic without those tools in place. I mean, the pandemic was miserable in most ways, but there were that.

One silver lining I think that we can take out of it is the ability for the virtualization of healthcare to reach people that you can't otherwise reach. Certainly, it's fabulous to be there in person, but if you need to take a full day off, work as opposed to being able to balance kids and all of that and I was able to beam in and be there for my dad and I could view his electronic health record, you know, remotely, so I could ask much better questions. And so it's. It wasn't just asking about information chasing. That was available, and I think that's the key. Going forward is that we get a lot more insights out of these systems Because we've been focusing decades of getting the data in, which is not as valuable.

0:23:48 - Kimberly King

No, I totally agree, and even you know something so simple to think about getting your father, 97 years old, into the car, getting him ready to get there and just that whole experience. Some people don't realize how much work goes into that. That could be a half a day, you know, of just preparing that somebody to go in person. So yeah, that's amazing, Linda. In your view, what fuels the prevailing hype and buzz around AI?

0:24:17 - Linda Macomber

Oh, my goodness. So AI is obviously been around since. You know, talking with, you know the 1950s, my conversations with Marvin Minsky in the 1980s, and you know, with this whole society of mind of connecting the dots, but generative AI and ChatGPT that launched in November of last year, coming up on a year, you know, I think that computers were kind of geeky still and you know, for to a lot, of, a lot of us and but we could see the humanity comes through, I think, with ChatGPT and other systems that are like it, instead of us needing to learn the language of computers like I had to do back in the day, I mean, I, they've learned to speak English and a whole lot other languages too. So it's the ability for these, these large language models which you know, in essence, they're predicting the next word, they're the neural networks and not going into too much of how they work, but the impact of what they can do on all, for all of us. You know at, at the individual level.

You know I was writing Christmas poems over. You know, last Christmas I hadn't written poems since. You know college days and you know like I sort of took ownership, did I wrote them, but I wrote with, with some help of these, these, these new AI tools, and I think that it's helpful for everyone to sort of dive in and use them just to get started. I mean, if you never have writer's block again, to just get some of those ideas flowing. You know, and certainly I think, search so you know many of us. It were around before Google, if you can imagine. But I've had the privilege of being a beta tester and working with Google health decades ago and over several decades, and seeing what's happening with the ability to have AI powered searches that do that and summarization. For us, that's really helpful.

0:26:35 - Kimberly King

So you know, I've seen the hypes come and go, but when you see helpful and that's a different situation and when it affects humanities and communication and it's really at the heart of impacting all of us, so true, and I mean it's, it's again I think I go back to what you said when we stay curious and when we don't put roadblocks up in front and being cautious as well, but it is I, you know. I think you can only go up from here. Could you offer some historical insights on the AI tech progress and trends?

0:27:17 - Linda Macomber

Well, I mean, certainly you know the hardware, the software and all of the different perspectives. Many of them have kind of grown up together. So there really is the history of the hardware getting much better. And then you've that you can actually power many of the things that many of us just imagined before. And it's not that that many of us that were in design roles in the early days didn't say, hey, we want this system to be easier to use, but we just didn't have the detective to fuel it. Now we do. And so there's and surprisingly for AI a lot of the computer gaming and the new chips that have gone into that actually are fueling these new powered AI based systems. So you know the ability to, you know, take this a constant evolution of you know, better, faster, less, you know, more affordable hardware. Then there's the whole evolution of the software.

A couple of the key milestones, certainly, you know. You know back in the day many of the systems weren't as connected because you didn't have the hardware to power them as much, and now they are becoming more and more connected. And also, you know what a key breakthrough is machine learning. People, you know, talk about ML and AI. You know AI has been around forever but the machine started to learn themselves after the internet and we had so much more data on that was digital and that we could. The systems can learn from that and that was a huge breakthrough that enabled us to do things like you know, get great recommendations for movies and purchases and kind of those big recommendation engines.

And there was a tech for healthcare. I had worked with many of the creation of rules, right, so they were clinical decision support systems to make sure that people got the right medications, the right treatments, that we would connect the libraries of the world and all the journals of the world into our day to day systems and that they would be more helpful. You know, kind of like that incredible help key to and so that many of our systems and healthcare have evolved and emerged to take advantage, as these new tech breakthroughs have occurred over the decades.

0:29:51 - Kimberly King

Okay, that's amazing, and again, you're just on the on the very groundbreaking period of this. So it's exciting Great information. Right now we need to take a quick break, but more in just a moment. Don't go away, we will be right back. And now back to our interview with National University's Associate Health Professor, Linda Macomber, and we're discussing health, innovation and leadership and how artificial intelligence will impact it. And so, Linda, how have your professional engagements intertwined with AI and innovation and healthcare?

0:30:28 - Linda Macomber

Well, I don't know if you have a few hours, but just kidding. There really are so many ways that the AI really can only be valuable if it has fueled with a lot of the information that's put into it. So in many ways, everything that we say and put out on the internet, I feel like we're really teaching our children, the next generation. So it's up to us to make sure we're putting good things out there. In healthcare the same is true. I mean much of the information that flows through healthcare today, much of it is images and text and it's not necessarily that structured data that we've been able to use for AI rules in the past. So there's the historic algorithmic AI. That is more the classic science where you're testing and getting FDA approval, which has actually gone exponential just over the last year or so. So there's a lot happening on this clinical decision support front of AI and I've worked with various startup companies on this and really linking in those medical and health libraries and journals of the world all of that information so that it's accessible at the fingertips of the people at the front lines of care. So that's one side. But then there's this whole new generation of enter the humanities and these large, actually being called more foundational models that are now more multimedia rich. So we've gone from that absolute control where we're programming the systems to the machine learning and the healthcare.

A great example in healthcare is all of the images, so that in radiology, whether it the various aspects where we're using that imaging tech that the AI systems can learn by looking at millions of images to detect cancer earlier, and so I mean there are incredible applications such as early detection of disease in a point where it's much more affordable and likely to cure. But imagine all of the information that flows through and being able to have that dashboard. What are the actionable things that matter? Sometimes it's not just looking at one image, but it's looking at that complex picture that is you, whether it's your DNA, your personalized ecosystem that you live in, the different exposures, your exposome, your history from your labs, your medications, your lifestyle all of that kind of affects what might be the early diagnosis. That can end up adding years to your life.

But we've got to pull the insights out and AI is helping us with that. So think about the way that AI has worked before to synthesize, to summarize and to find that signal. And there's too much information in healthcare, right? I think all of us can agree on that, and that can lead to burnout and frustration like, wait a minute, I can't process all of what's going on. So to the extent that we can have some help with that, that's pretty exciting To have every nurse, every physician to have every person to have their own personal assistant, and now you can even talk with them.

0:34:38 - Kimberly King

It is. It really is exciting You're right just all of that information that goes into our bodies, our DNA and them being able to just kind of really see it at your fingertips and be able to share that with who you want to share that with your family and whatnot, but just kind of shaping our healthcare. So I think it's so interesting how is AI reshaping higher education and particularly in preparing future leaders in healthcare?

0:35:15 - Linda Macomber

Well, I think AI for good can help us to balance the fears that are out there with AI. And so, to the extent that in healthcare there's that word synergy, this means like one plus one doesn't just equal two, but we can amplify our intelligence and imagine if we can help our intelligence. I think that we can solve a lot of the challenges on this planet. So let's amplify education and be able to help all of our people to use these tools and to become more effective, not just more efficient, and in my mind, that's the difference between a manager and a leader. So many of these systems and people think, oh, it's going to make it more efficient, it's going to get rid of my jobs, it's going to automate and kind of create an industrial era. Well, I think that if we do it right, instead of having a revolution, we can create a renaissance, and I think that that's the role of higher ed.

0:36:25 - Kimberly King

Good point, and that's going to lead me into my next question is what is the Renaissance Health initiative? Can you talk about that?

0:36:34 - Linda Macomber

Yeah, I mean for many years I started the graduate program in health informatics and I also work with all of the various programs so that all of our graduates at National have the experience with kind of diving in and simulating using technology. So the roots have started with like a healthcare simulation and really a discovery lab. So it started with I created a place to put all of these different like what's new and what's really working well stories. As YouTube really grew, there were wonderful excerpts, so instead of students having to just listen to me all the time, that they get to learn from a lot of people. And so it's that rich collective wisdom of a multimedia rich perspective. So I think to create this renaissance particularly you know the site is something that I create and it's like collecting great stories.

So I have the privilege to go to amazing conferences at times and I've just known people over 30 years and so connect and collect some of the best stories in what's working in healthcare that has an innovation and technology component to it, and so I've collected several hundred videos and lots of links and perspectives.

You know, just so you know, hopefully I can remember.

You know, sometimes it's just you know you got that great thing that you saw on your, you know, on a feed and I needed a place to put it, and so it really grew into you know a dozen or so blogs, but others and it's taken off, a lot of more people than the students are using it, and so, you know, just simply to learn more about you know whether it's the latest from an Apple watch, what's going on with Amazon and these new health clinics, what's happening in health tech, from a lot of different people who've contributed to it.

So it's a way to learn from a lot of other people, and to me, that's part of a Renaissance is the sharing of experiences, and with health tech moving so fast, it's such a dynamic field that you need those examples that are relevant and particularly for, you know, lifelong education. People want relevance and by the time it gets published in a book sometimes it's a bit dated. So it augments the curriculum for public health and nursing and health care leaders to say, hey, what's going on? You know, it's not just all the great stories from San Diego, but also, hey, what's happening in Mayo Clinic, what's going on in Boston? Who are the people that are doing things? So it's like bringing in lots of guest lectures into a classroom as well, kind of like a multimedia your favorite bookstore, but online.

0:39:48 - Kimberly King

Oh, I love it. I love that and you know what people do love the guest speakers and I would imagine, yes, your resources are plentiful. So I, oh, great, I love that. How are students and faculty and others using this platform today in the health tech discovery?

0:40:06 - Linda Macomber

Yeah, I think you know what I just shared in addition, really diving into AI. So, you know, I think that there are people who are new to the field that can learn more about things like you know electronic health record systems, and you know the history and how we've progressed, how you can access and really be the CEO of your own health by having access to a lot of this incredible information. And there's a lot of companies in San Diego that are working on different sensors and things and there's a lot of need to connect those in to the professional healthcare delivery system. So you know, there are lots of jobs that are in this area of you know, being an analyst, being a project manager. You need to know enough to speak tech and speak health, and so you know, and those are things that students learn by immersion in the lab. So it's a lot easier to you know. Watch some, you know these curated stories and videos and you hear the language and so it's not as intimidating. So that's really one way you know others. Certainly on the AI-enabled front, it's sharing again those things, those you know tech. People call it use cases.

I just thought it was just hey, how are people incorporating this into their daily lives. What are some great stories. You know how did a mom from Michigan go to lots of doctors and still have a child that's in pain, but they were able to use ChatGPT to come up with things that others did not see. Wow, and, as I've been sharing for this over this past year with family and friends, it really is not just that the computer is going to replace us. That's been kind of an old story. But I think that if we can use it in partnership and I think that many use the ideas that are in to say, hey, you know, maybe I'll try this for my family, or maybe there's a new, instead of having code blue, there's a deterioration alert that comes up and the story of how people are using that or how people are using new command centers in different hospitals to make sure that we're much better prepared for, you know, any infectious disease outbreaks and challenges ahead.

Well, how do we? Again, you're finding, both at the personal level, some things that can help you and your family. You can dive in more to the professional level to say, well, wait a minute, wait, nurses are doing this and they're actually having these support team nurses that wait. Maybe we can help address our nursing challenge using some of this and here's some great stories. And then for healthcare leaders and executives how can, how have others led these initiatives that were successful? Because, you know, not all tech adoption works right. Yeah, plenty kind of expensive, if you know we don't do it in a way that works. So it's just really sharing the stories.

0:43:38 - Kimberly King

Wow, well, and it's good. You've been collecting them like as if you just knew that you know you were going to write a book someday. I keep telling you this, but you really should. Well, thank you. That's three times.

0:43:52 - Linda Macomber

I hope to do that actually someday. Maybe you know a fun new mini-series in Southern California you know on digital health and how it matters.

0:44:06 - Kimberly King

Right, and it is. It's really so timely. Are you seeing impactful AI applications delivering value for patients? Lots of them, and that's one just now about them the mom that went around and was looking for a cure for her, her son, Right. But tell me an example.

0:44:27 - Linda Macomber

Right, you know, I think it's interesting because, teaching graduate students over the last decade, many of them come into this field in some ways because of something that's happened with their own families that has been impactful, and I found that true industry wide as well that you'll have people saying, well, wait a minute, you know, maybe I shouldn't have lost that. What could we have done differently so that that loved one was not lost? What did we miss? So part of it is saying that and then others are saying, oh my gosh, you know, but because of the technology, this really went a whole lot better than I expected. But you know, the future is already here, but not equally distributed.

So that's where you know, William Gibson said that and I think we can study the. You know whether it was as a kid. I love the Jetsons, right, you know cartoons and you know whether it's some of the science fiction hopefully can come. You know, not be so dystopian. I think that's up to us. Maybe we do need a good book on. You know, like, hey, we actually did education and healthcare and we did actually create this renaissance of creativity that was unmatched. Look at history. We had the plague and then, you know, we had the renaissance. So, after the plague of the pandemic, I think it's time for us to have a lot of impactful stories on and I think, each of us as we use this tech and learn more about it. I think we can all create our own amazing stories.

0:46:26 - Kimberly King

It's just. It's great, and I do. I was a huge fan of the Jetsons too. I love seeing them Really. We have FaceTime and it started with that and they do the little comparisons. I love that you may have answered this, but again, if there's anything specific, how is AI benefiting professionals?

0:46:45 - Linda Macomber

Yeah, I think that having some help. You know, our healthcare professionals have really been going the extra mile and need assistance where we can. So simple examples of you know really it's history repeating itself of you know, myself in the ICU, like, wait a minute. You know we replaced this paperwork with a lot of data entry. Well, wait a minute, we can actually automatically have that information come in. We don't need to, you know, look at it on this screen and type it into another screen.

The ability for voice, the voice enabled assistance that enables, because of AI, to find the signal through the noise. I mean, healthcare has a lot of nuances and its abbreviations and languages, so it takes the AI to make sure that it's still somewhat expensive today, but it's the tech is available so that healthcare professionals can speak and the systems. You know they're not constantly typing in and clicking away at a computer. So that's one aspect. It's just getting the information in, but more importantly, it's the cognitive load. It's not about data in and data out, it's about decisions and making the best ones. Not having a problem list in healthcare, but having a priority list. You know, being able to have these AI systems and whether you call them AI or you know whether they're. You know these. You know helpers. You know to say. You know I mean and not giving me alert fatigue with. You know too many alerts that I don't need, but much more personalized insights and the AI.

I think there's tremendous hope for this next generation that we can help our professionals with the right insights at the right time. You know there are times. An example is I created a team quality alerts back in the day. You know creating that safety net. You know to make sure it's a great systems for leaders to have dashboards. You know I mean we have dashboards in our cars when something needs attention.

You know there, there, we need those for our healthcare system at multiple levels, not just for one patient, but for a nurse, for a physician to look at all of their patients and be able to say wait, whoa, something's really happening over here that maybe needs your attention. And the same thing is true of healthcare executives and you know public health leaders and you know and, and government leaders. So, to the extent that these AI systems can, I think, help us to synthesize, summarize, figure out together what's important, and I think it can do a tremendous amount of good. I think AI is scary but healthcare and education with AI hopefully can lead the way on kind of that really impactful, helpful perspectives.

0:50:03 - Kimberly King

Agreed. Can you share some instances where AI is helping healthcare organizations and communities? And again you? You may have kind of touched on this, but are there any specific instances?

0:50:17 - Linda Macomber

Well, I think some of the examples are, you know, some of these aspects of you know kind of dashboards for healthcare organizations. You know more of having innovation centers. I just recently spoke at the new SHARP Innovation Center. Other innovation centers are going up around San Diego and across the country and some of those are, to, you know, test at the organizational level some proof of concept, use of AI in practice, and so I think it's, how do we take the best of our startup culture? I've thought it's.

You know there is a bit of a challenge with healthcare, because Silicon Valley kind of wants to go fast and break things and healthcare wants to first do no harm, and so we need places where a lot of that experimentation can happen. So we can do some of that virtually and we have like a you know the cause research institute at National University and the strategic innovations there. I think that university cultures can help with this, but oftentimes it's bringing lots of different people together from different perspectives, kind of creating that society of mind perspective again, and including AI. We often think, you know, we just have to bring in another person, where sometimes we can bring in a person plus the AI, and but we don't think of it.

0:51:59 - Kimberly King

Yeah, exactly, I think this is again that new territory that we're all kind of wandering into and you know, just getting that extra assistance is life changing really. What is? Is there anything else you want to share with our audience that we haven't really touched on yet?

0:52:17 - Linda Macomber

Well, I guess there are a few things that have lasted the test of time. You know, one from starting out in, you know, pediatrics and the ICU is sort of kind of a double dose of humanity for each dose of technology from kind of an ICU perspective. I think that applies today to AI. I think we need to plan for budget for the reality that the adoption of technology into our lives can be really stressful or it can be amazing and life changing and add, you know, those, we can add years to our lives and life to our years. You know you don't want to have regrets that you didn't try some of these things.

So I encourage people to be curious, to try.

You know, maybe it's, you know, it's just kind of going to that prompt and it's just that box and just put something in and they're like whoa huh, didn't know I could, you know, write a poem for a loved one.

You know, just go out of your comfort zone and to try, and then I think that your, our brains will start working in new ways and a lot of folks are always working out making sure you're physically fit, but I think you know, kind of stretching your mind as well into some of these new areas can, I think, add a lot of enrichment and just joy to our lives. It's not just for the geeks and, lastly, sort of you can try to escape it, but you know, it's just as though you know you used to have to go to the hospital, you used to have to go to the technology, but a lot of those are coming to us and things that we use day to day, whether it's, you know, in our writing, with Word or Excel, and so a lot of these systems are being, you know, kind of infusing into our daily lives. But I encourage everyone to learn more about them and we all learn together.

0:54:31 - Kimberly King

And that's so true, wow. Well, I'm really excited for you and congratulations for all of the grounds, ground steps that you've made, and you are definitely a pioneer in your industry. I'm really excited to see what's next for you. Thank you for sharing your knowledge today and if you want more information, you can visit National University's website at And Linda, thank you very much for your time.

Show Quotables

"As technology advances and takes quantum incredible leaps, like it has in recently with AI, I think that the opportunities are tremendous in this area. - Linda Macomber," Click to Tweet
"We're still working on connecting the puzzle pieces and the dots of the complexity that is the healthcare ecosystem, but major advances happened to connect all of these- lab, pharmacy, radiology and up. - Linda Macomber," Click to Tweet