Confidence in artificial intelligence (AI) to improve the healthcare industry has increased dramatically over the last few years. According to a survey of 500 US health industry leaders spanning hospitals, health plans, life sciences, and employers, nearly 22% of respondents stated they were in the late stages of AI strategy implementation.
Today, this is reflected in a growing investment in AI and machine learning led by forward-looking organizations like Summa Health and Sutter Health. The OptumIQ Annual Survey on AI in Healthcare reveals a jump in investments, averaging $39.7 million over the next five years––$7.3 million more than last year’s estimate.
The successful implementation of AI in the healthcare sector has not only simplified administrative tasks but also innovated diagnosis and drug discovery. With the continued expansion of AI, healthcare providers will likely look for new ways the technology can be used to improve patient care, the health of populations as well as reducing the high costs associated with care.
A great example of this is Mount Sinai’s 2021 launch of a new AI research center, which looks to improve the quality of care that patients receive, but also more accurately predict patient outcomes and develop new therapies. Other AI initiatives aim to assist emergency departments in treating triage patients, help radiologists prioritize cases that involve collapsed lungs, and boost the efficiency and speed of coders and clinicians.
This increased investment in AI doesn’t just have medical value, with a positive return on investment (ROI) situated to take less time than previously predicted— with one report suggesting in as little as three years in some cases. Most hospitals and health plans expect to see a positive return in three years while life science executives hope to see it take around five years.
But more importantly, companies are being urged to find the right people to get the job done. “In order to transform and modernize the U.S. health system through the power of AI, it is critical that organizations invest in developing talent throughout the enterprise to solve healthcare’s most complex challenges,” Steve Griffiths, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Optum Enterprise Analytics explained. “At Optum, we apply what we call OptumIQ––a distinctive combination of curated data, analytics and healthcare expertise–– to drive that intelligence transformation.”