Mother’s Day in our household always arrives with excessive amounts of artwork, clay creations and the legendary “Top 10 Reasons Why I Love My Mom” letters.

The sentences are always nicely structured leading up to a key word entry from the tiny author.

Mothers generally glow, cry or laugh at the adorable resulting responses.

Then comes the key word responses provided by my Emmy Grace.

Question #1: I love it when my mom reads me ________.

Help me out, Em … put something cute like “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” or “I Love You Forever”.

Maybe, say, Highlights Magazine? That would be believable.

Nope, none of the above.

Her key word of choice was “menu.”

I love it when my mom reads me the MENU.

I can see her reading specialist just shaking her head. No wonder this child is repeating first grade.

Mortified I was. 

As one mom friend told me, “At least she didn’t say the cocktail list.” Could have been worse.

If only the project had used a neural network versus key word search or entry.

Artificial Intelligence (AI), after all, is the way of the future.

I can see it now.

Kids simply “think” an answer and the entry populates into their tablets for automatic submission of project work.

Fast, instant and neural.

Surely, Emmy’s neural network wouldn’t have populated “menu.” It was simply a keyword, easier to write than a book title entry.

What is a neural network you ask?

And why Renee should I care about AI?

For starters, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recognizes the benefit of AI as evidenced by its recent Artificial Intelligence (AI) Health Outcomes Challenge. The Challenge was an opportunity for innovators to demonstrate how AI tools — such as deep learning and neural networks — can be used to accelerate development of AI solutions for predicting patient health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries for potential use in CMS Innovation Center innovative payment and service delivery models.

The Challenge was operated by CMS in partnership with the American Academy of Family Physicians and Arnold Ventures.

Pay attention: AI is the future and neural networks will be key to their success.

A neural network is a series of algorithms that endeavors to recognize underlying relationships in a set of data through a process that mimics the way the human brain operates. 

In this sense, neural networks refer to systems of neurons, either organic or artificial in nature. Neural networks can adapt to changing input; so the network generates the best possible result without needing to redesign the output criteria. 

The concept of neural networks, which has its roots in artificial intelligence, is swiftly gaining popularity in the development of trading systems.

Neural networks are a series of algorithms that mimic the operations of a human brain to recognize relationships between vast amounts of data.

Present day the use of neural networks will exceed documentation or review tools which are used merely as key word searches. 

An additional press release from the challenge was published on April 30 and outlined challenges and lessons learned including quotes from CMS Acting Administrator 

 “Clinicians are eager to use the latest innovations to better help identify patients at risk, provide higher quality care, and improve health outcomes. The use of artificial intelligence has the potential to achieve these aims by providing important information to clinicians that may be helpful in providing higher quality care,” said CMS Acting Administrator Liz Richter. “CMS’s AI Health Outcomes Challenge has brought this exciting future one step closer to reality by engaging with some of the country’s brightest AI innovators. 

The CMS AI Health Outcomes Challenge attracted innovators from all sectors — not just from healthcare — to harness AI solutions to predict health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries. 

“We are excited about the early successes and great potential of Artificial Intelligence to dramatically improve health outcomes, reduce administrative burden, and create smarter health IT,” said American Academy of Family Physicians EVP/CEO Shawn Martin.

 “We were pleased to partner with the CMS Innovation Center on the AI Health Outcomes Challenge and to bring family physicians into the evaluation of the contestants to help identify the winners. We look forward to seeing the winning, and all of the great, solutions in the market.”

More information on the CMS AI Health Outcomes Challenge is available at:

I’ve spent the last few years writing to you all about payment reform, IMPACT, PDPM, and areas of rehab clinical practice. We are heading in the right direction. 

Now it is time to appreciate the next shift we will see in healthcare and I truly believe AI will be a growing and trending issue and essential to measuring outcomes and improving quality.

Neural networks are heading our way, they will be based on the data provided for their development.

How can they support your clinical practice and patient care? That future is for you to decide.

Renee Kinder, MS, CCC-SLP, RAC-CT, is Executive Vice President of Clinical Services for Broad River Rehab and a 2019 APEX Award of Excellence winner in the Writing–Regular Departments & Columns category. Additionally, she serves as Gerontology Professional Development Manager for the American Speech Language Hearing Association’s (ASHA) gerontology special interest group, is a member of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine community faculty and is an advisor to the American Medical Association’s Relative Value Update Committee (RUC) Health Care Professionals Advisory Committee (HCPAC).