Artificial intelligence is slowly but sure making its way into the healthcare system, but for now providers are using AI to save paper over lives.
The survey finds that AI is a top priority for many hospitals and health systems—94% of healthcare organizations continue to invest in and make progress in implementing AI, according to the Optum survey.
For now most health systems are putting an early focus on using AI to cut paper and red tape instead of using machine learning to improve clinical care through such means as rapid scanning and analysis of medical images. So far, 43% of respondents to the Optum survey are using AI to automate business processes, such as administrative operations or customer service, compared with 36% to detect patterns in health care fraud, waste and abuse and 31% to monitor patients with Internet of Things (IoT) devices including wearable technology.
Hospitals and health systems are using AI to help expedite administrative functions primarily because of the potential cost savings generated by machine learning, says Optum CEO Eric Murphy. “Artificial intelligence has the potential to transform healthcare by helping predict disease and putting the right insights into the hands of clinicians as they treat patients, which can reduce the total cost of care,” Murphy says.
Other survey findings include:
- 36% of respondents expect AI will improve the patient experience while 33% anticipate AI will decrease per-capita cost of care and 31% believe AI will improve health outcomes.
- Employers (38%) and health plans (20%) expect a return on investment in three years or less, while hospital executives expect a longer wait of four to five years.
- Three-quarters of health care organizations are actively implementing or have plans to execute an AI strategy. 42% of those organizations have a strategy but have not yet implemented it. Employers are furthest along, with 22% reporting their AI implementations are at a late stage, with nearly full deployment.
- The top two benefits respondents expect to see from incorporating AI into their organizations are more accurate diagnosis and increased efficiency.
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