Empowering hospitals in public health crises: AI-supported patient-centric systems for resilience and recovery

Zahra Shakeri, Dalla Lana School of Public Health; Ishtiaque Ahmed, Faculty of Arts & Science; Shohini Bhattasali, University of Toronto Scarborough

Hospitals serve as the cornerstone of healthcare systems, providing critical support during emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic. Ensuring their operational, secure, and resilient nature is essential for both extended response and ongoing recovery. Hospital resilience requires a multifaceted approach, with patient care experiences playing a significant role in healthcare outcomes. Prioritizing enhanced patient experiences leads to improved treatment adherence, better clinical outcomes, increased safety, quality, equity, and efficient healthcare utilization. In fragile health systems, hospitals must maintain resilience by adapting to daily challenges and quickly recovering during public health emergencies, ensuring safe, uninterrupted critical services.

This research seeks to create an intelligent AI-based hospital system that bolsters hospitals' resilience, recovery, and preparedness amid public health crises. Leveraging AI-driven analysis of a large-scale dataset (over 111,000 open-text comments) from patients' self-reported experiences in Ontario hospitals (2017-2021), we can examine the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on patient care experiences. Our analysis will compare pre-pandemic and pandemic data to identify improvement areas, address care continuity gaps, and enhance care quality, while considering the evolving needs and challenges of different service components. Acknowledging hospitals' vital role in recovery through health education and preventive measure awareness, this research seeks to develop a nationwide intelligent system in future phases. This system aims to rebuild public trust by fostering health education, providing reliable information, and addressing misinformation, enabling informed decisions and preventive actions for improved health outcomes. This research supports enhancing healthcare services for all Canadians, fostering an accessible, efficient, and equitable system across diverse application domains.