AI-powered technologies are becoming prevalent across several industries, spanning education, energy, finance and, more recently, healthcare. Over the last few years, the growth in AI technology has empowered healthcare businesses to run more efficiently, better serve patients and members of staff and invest more in innovation.
The use of the technology is growing so significantly that the market is expected to value an eyewatering $34bn by 2025, according to Tractica, as the healthcare sector wakes up to the exciting opportunities that AI can bring.
While we may just be at the beginning of AI transformation, here are some key ways AI is impacting the healthcare industry.
The long-term impact of AI technology in the healthcare sector
The healthcare AI market is expected to see a tremendous growth in the next five years. A report from consulting firm Frost & Sullivan predicts that the market is set to see a 40% growth through 2021. "AI systems are poised to transform how we think about disease diagnosis and treatment," says Frost & Sullivan analyst Harpreet Singh Buttar. "Augmenting the expertise of trained clinicians, AI systems will provide an added layer of decision support capable of helping mitigate oversights or errors in care administration."
Here are some of the specific ways it is changing the landscape of the medical industry.
Reducing diagnostic errors
Try as they may, physicians and healthcare regulators cannot achieve perfection. As it stands, around 10% of patient deaths and a number of hospital complications are the result of diagnostic errors.
AI systems can help reduce these errors substantially. A deep learning algorithm could more accurately determine specific threats present in a large percentage of cells, tissues and organs it analyzes.
Additionally, intelligent automation platforms can present the entire patient journey including previous diagnosis and results from clinical trials. This holistic picture can give doctors a fully detailed explanation of the patient's history and ultimately improve patient outcomes.
Research has found that combining human care with automated tools can raise the diagnostic rate up to 97% or higher. While even the most well-trained physician can make an error, AI systems are designed to empower doctors to provide a higher level of care. Additionally, these AI systems can ensure compliance every step of the process.
Improving revenue activities
While no one likes to deal with the cost of services after care, AI can help make the process more straightforward and less stressful for both patients and the hospital. Smart AI systems can manage claims exceptions and appeals, so all financial processes are held in one single system.
By integrating payment systems and insurance plans, patients can have a better understanding of what procedures are and are not covered. Ensuring the right providers are used can lead to lower patient costs and increased satisfaction.
Enhancing the capabilities of surgical instruments
Surgical instruments are some of the most intricate types of technology on the market. There's always a demand to improve them, and AI can help.
Smart algorithms can be used to function as a virtual assistant just as they can be used to perform tasks on their own. If a physician is using a tool designed to read inputs from the subject, that input can then be used to guide future actions.
"AI can help surgeons perform better," commented Dr. John Birkmeyer, chief clinical officer at Sound Physicians, a national practice of 3,000 doctors and medical practitioners offering acute care management. "We know that a surgeon's skill, particularly with new or difficult procedures, varies widely, with huge implications for patient outcomes
and cost. AI can both reduce that variation, and help all surgeons improve – even the best ones. It's important to leverage that digital feedback."
The result can be safer procedures, more effective results and a better experience for the patient who is being cared for.
The evolution of healthcare with AI
When partnered with top physicians, AI offers some very impressive possibilities for the future. In the medical industry, improving the technology can be the difference between losing a patient and saving a life. Proper AI usage can lead to more streamlined billing activities reducing confusion and improving customer satisfaction. These are just a few of the ways healthcare can be changed from patient care to promotion using AI.
Healthcare has always depended on innovation and creativity. Now the industry has the opportunity to harness those qualities from machines and software just as it does from human physicians.