Even if Amazon is not yet in the healthcare market, the biggest online retailer’s presence is still having a big—and disruptive—presence on the healthcare system, says an industry consultant speaking yesterday at the Oliver Wyman Health Innovation Summit in Dallas.
Specifically, Amazon changed the way consumers shop online with a more personalized approach to retailing and Amazon uses e-commerce technology to personalize the buying process for shoppers, says Oliver Wyman. The Amazon experience is now same user experience patients want in using the healthcare system. “Am I closer to the consumer than Amazon is? If I’m not, how can I become so?” Oliver Wyman Health & Life Sciences partner Helen Leis told attendees. “If you’re going to fight gravity, you’re going to have to figure out how to build an airplane.”
The influence of Amazon, artificial intelligence and other digital and mobile technologies will have a big impact on how healthcare in the U.S. is administered and delivered, Leis says. “There have been fundamental shifts in social norms and behaviors we couldn’t have imagined ten years ago and incumbents will have to learn how to shift mental paradigms and play by new rules,” she says. “The changes we see coming to healthcare will inevitably happen because these are fundamental forces.”
Artificial intelligence—or computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages, in particular will make a big impact. “The successful implementation of artificial intelligence goes well beyond the prediction that one day humans will soon be outsourced by robots,” Leis says. “The clinician will no longer be the central part of care and the clinician will stand alongside artificial intelligence machines.”
One day soon patients may even prefer to see their healthcare delivered by artificial intelligence—and not just by clinicians, she says. “Healthcare is a data business,” Leis says. “Consumers will prefer artificial intelligence products that leverage data that’s specific to them to guide their personal experiences.”
Leis also predicted that the increased use of digital data and delivery technologies will also fundamentally change how the healthcare system operates, she says. “Healthcare experiences are going to shift away from sick care and focus more on preventing diseases,” she said. “Pharma companies are going to see targeted therapies become much more differentiated,”
Data interpretation and artificial intelligence will drive a large part of the change, she says. “Healthcare is one-size-fits-all, and frankly it’s a poor fit for most people,” Leis says. “As you put more expertise in the system using artificial intelligence, the volume of one particular expert goes down, while value goes up.”
Oliver Wyman is an employee benefits management and consulting company.
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