Why is it that Healthcare Industry continues to struggle in creating success in a value-driven environment today? Perhaps it is due to excessive regulatory burden on the systems & providers or may be due to changing demands of a healthcare consumer. In addition to these factors over last few decades healthcare industry has been exposed to an avalanche of technological advances and mountains of data, which is making it difficult for us to create success and navigate to a better path. As a physician informatician I may be biased, but I truly believe ‘AI’ not only holds a promise to create this success, but it can also help build a foundation for healthcare industry to scale value rapidly as the globalization and consumerism continues to drive the future.
So, what is an ‘AI’ & is it really making a difference today? – Unfortunately, just like an ‘EHR’ Electronic Health Records we have once again failed at creating a better first impression of technology implementation in healthcare. For most Providers when you bring the subject of AI, negative connotation takes over their rationale & scientific thought process. For providers, the early impression of AI reminds them how inefficient they are as care providers in current system, and how Dr. ‘AI’ will come to rescue this crisis based on the hype generated at the introduction of this technology. AI should have been introduced with a reference to ‘Augmented Intelligence’ or ‘Assistive Intelligence’ just like we have done with virtual assistants (Siri, Alexa, Google etc.) integrated in all our smart devices with a consumer driven approach.
Lot of the hype associated with AI which was generated with initial introduction of this technology has dissipated and we are seeing AI becoming the anchor point for transformative change in current Digital healthcare environment. Today in healthcare industry AI is already making huge impact and helping us create many value-based solutions. From helping us improve performance in areas like clinical documentation improvement, coding, prior authorization, to creating better outcomes by augmenting population health-based risk stratification, early diagnosis, treatment & care coordination; AI is assisting all stakeholders including payers, providers & patients. An individual can ask ‘Alexa’ to help them triage health related questions for their kids with skills like ‘KidsMD’. Hospitals and providers are using AI/virtual assistant-based solutions today integrated within EHR to personalize their experience, automate data entry & assist in creating data outputs which becomes very helpful for creating value in clinical decision making. Payers are increasingly using ‘ML’ Machine Learning, an advanced statistical technique to identify complex data patterns to make better predictions to reduce TME Total Medical Expenses & to improve allocation of resources for ‘At Risk’ population.
One might argue that healthcare industry is not ready for full potential of ‘AI’ when compared to some other industries, but I would argue that ‘AI’ is already at work in healthcare and we are already making leaps and bound when it comes to making incremental improvements. We need better outcomes and enhanced experience for our clinicians and communities to create better health. Today we are ever more connected and at the same time even more distracted from what is truly meaningful to us. To create value, we need to adapt and advance our approach to improve efficiency, communication and go beyond the boundaries of current healthcare focus on ‘sick care’. ‘AI’ and other such assistive technologies are set to lead us with this global healthcare delivery transformation in coming years.