August 8, 2023

Artificial Intelligence showing positive patient and physician outcomes

By: Mindy Casso, KGNS

There’s no question artificial intelligence is popping up in industries across the board–from travel to retail, e-commerce to logistics, many are claiming it’s an essential tool—and that includes a local physician who says Artificial Intelligence (AI) is making a difference in his clinic with administrative tasks that take him away from patient care.

“So, 3 to 5 minutes doesn’t sound like a lot, but multiply that by 10, 20, 30, and it ends up being an hour to an hour and a half a day that needs to be spent documenting,” explained Dr. Ricky Cigarroa II, Interventional Cardiologist. “If you add that up over a week, that’s multiple hours.”

It’s a problem many doctors face—spending countless hours in front of the computer instead of in front of patients doing what they were trained to do. But with the help of AI, that’s all changing.

“In some cases, it can also listen to the conversation, like a free-flowing conversation, and from that, it can create a structured patient note.”

Having that kind of help means patients can get seen by a physician quicker—an important factor in combating Laredo’s medically underserved community.

A lot of it is driven by these administrative documentation tasks that are not direct patient encounters that lead a lot of healthcare providers to just get exhausted,” explained Dr. Cigarroa.

And that’s not all. Dr. Cigarroa also says AI has made its way into the world of imaging.

“I would say the biggest use of AI right now is in diagnosing strokes,” Cigarroa says. “Especially in smaller hospitals communicating with bigger hospitals.”

So, as artificial intelligence technology grows, the hope is it’ll help reduce patient wait times and provide overall better quality of care.

“That’s really where I think healthcare providers are going to first notice the benefits with artificial intelligence,” said Dr. Cigarroa. “It’s decreasing the burden of administrative tasks to free up time for both patient encounters and also allowing physicians to spend time with their families outside of hospital care.”

Meanwhile, AI is only becoming more sophisticated. Dr Cigarroa says software is currently being developed that’ll assist interventional cardiologists in determining whether an invasive measure is needed in a patient–before having to perform the actual procedure.

The pharmacy industry is also leveraging AI technology through automated dispensing to improve work-flow efficiency and lower operating costs while promoting safety, accuracy, and efficiency. This allows the pharmacist to spend more time with patients and focus on their health outcomes.

For more information on this story, please visit KGNS at

To set up an appointment, call the Cigarroa Clinic at (956) 725-1228. You can also follow the Cigarroa Clinic on FB and Instagram or visit their website at The American Heart Association also is a great resource on heart health. You can visit their website at As always, the minute you feel you may be experiencing a heart attack, call 911 or head to your nearest Emergency Room.