The healthcare industry is at a unique juncture. Clinical workers are severely overworked both mentally and physically after managing an unprecedented onslaught of new diseases and illnesses. Staff shortages within the health sector remain a significant issue across the country and are below pre-pandemic levels. At the same time, the proliferation of technology in the industry is being used to deliver better care with fewer healthcare professionals.
We are in the midst of an unprecedented digital revolution in healthcare that is creating an astronomical amount of data. Today, healthcare generates about 30% of the world’s data volume, which is now measured annually in the thousands of exabytes (or trillions of gigabytes). This saturation of data is outpacing the human capacity to understand it without assistance. Enter Artificial Intelligence (AI), stage right.
To remain relevant in the marketplace, health systems, InsurTech companies, and health disruptors are adopting AI into their solutions in four main methods.:
- Assisted Intelligence is the most rudimentary form of AI in healthcare, where the technology is able to assist the clinical workforce in decision-making, but lacks any learning capabilities.
- Automated Intelligence automates existing manual and cognitive clinical tasks.
- Augmented Intelligence supplements clinical decision-making and can learn from interactions with humans and the environment.
- Autonomous Intelligence is the most advanced form of AI; it adapts to different situations and can act without human intervention.
The expanse of AI-based solutions can be seen in various healthcare domains, including:
- Medical Consultations
- Treatment Design
- Preliminary Diagnostics
- Health Monitoring
- Medication Management
- Clinical Trials
Value Drivers for AI in Healthcare
There are many growth, operational, and financial value drivers realized through AI that can have a great impact on the success of healthcare companies. Ultimately, these gains are passed along to patients to improve the quality and value of the care received. The value of AI comes from the remarkable opportunities to reduce healthcare costs, improve preventive healthcare, ease the work burden of healthcare professionals, and provide more accurate diagnoses.
“AI can unlock immense value in healthcare across the continuum of care – from improving patient safety within the health system to keeping communities healthier and equitable. We can achieve that value potential by deploying AI in collaboration with providers and patients and using it to empower them to make more proactive and evidence-based decisions”, said Vikas Chowdhry, CEO of TraumaCare.AI.
Vikas added, “For example, at TraumaCare.AI, we learned through our conversations with trauma providers that they make intervention assessments and treatment decisions for critically injured patients in a fast-paced environment with a noisy firehose of data and clunky software. They told us that this leads to high subjectivity and variability in care and causes cognitive burdens for them. To solve this, we are building AI-driven software to give them the most relevant and actionable information for their patient through a user interface that is specific to their workflow right when and where they need it. Our aim is not to disrupt them but to smartly augment their workflow.”
The ultimate value driver for AI is the broad improvements to the care that patients receive. There is an increase in patient safety, improvements in the efficiency of the care process, and the efficacy of medical decisions. A faster, more accurate diagnosis improves treatment protocols and monitoring, which ultimately helps patients get better – faster. AI also helps physicians sift through the overwhelming amount of patient data available to make better decisions and reduce complications in surgical operations.
AI enables multi-channel, prioritized offerings, and services like conversational chatbots that reduce customer churn and align with a new generation’s communication preferences. Medical results can be provided faster with an increased level of accuracy. AI provides improvements to medical billing, procedure coding, and appointment scheduling that alleviate the inconvenience and personal strain sometimes associated with visiting a medical professional.
For Health Systems, AI is the next frontier and the means to revolutionize and transform the care they provide. It automates manual and arduous tasks and reduces the administrative burden within the clinical workflow. The resulting effect is an increase in the efficiency and effectiveness of the healthcare workforce. Health systems can look to AI to properly categorize their customer segments and uncover strategies to increase the viability of their services. AI can even help to expose environmental conditions and Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) that impact the ability to provide equitable healthcare.
The ROI for Effective AI
AI can be an extremely valuable tool, but the reality is there is still hesitancy when health systems are faced with the decision to go all in for AI. The first barrier to saying “yes”? Finding the point of an acceptable return on investment.
Increasing and expediting adoption is the key to seeing the ROI on any AI venture. Here are the initial steps health systems can take to build a strong framework for adoption:
- Set a dynamic and thought-provoking vision, and then pair it with a realistic, controlled implementation strategy that ensures early quick wins to build momentum.
- Right-size the initial investment and plan to evolve over time.
- Engage the clinical staff early to address any skepticism or lack of trust in the target outcomes.
- Leverage organizational change management to address training and ensure that the new technology is integrated into the existing clinical workflow.
- Prioritize a seamless integration with the existing landscape of clinical applications to reduce operational complexity.
- Ensure that there is a process to continuously monitor for any inherent AI biases that could negatively impact the efficacy of the tool.
Healthcare systems have unprecedented access to data and new technology. The question is how are they going to use it? By taking the time to evaluate the organization’s vision, understand how the clinical staff interacts with current tools and processes, and right-size the investment in AI solutions, health systems can position themselves to see a greater ROI.
Not sure where to start? Sendero can help. Fill out the form below to connect with one of our consultants to learn more about how AI can fit into your technology strategy.