Healthcare is still in the early stages of artificial intelligence adoption, with most hospital executives reporting that they have yet to invest in AI solutions.
Only half of hospital leaders are familiar with the concept of artificial intelligence and robotic process automation (RPA), according to a survey conducted by Olive AI.
More than half of hospital executives were unable to name an AI or RPA vendor or solution, and just 23 percent of hospital leaders said they were seeking to invest in AI and RPA solutions today. Half said they plan to do so by 2021.
As healthcare becomes increasingly digitized, and as reimbursement processes become more complex, the way organizations manage data is fundamentally changing. This is resulting in higher operational expenses across hospitals and health systems: researchers noted that the industry is spending an estimated $1 trillion on administrative costs, leading executives to look at technology that will improve efficiency across the enterprise.
The survey sought to find out how hospital leaders are responding to the demand to increase efficiency and reduce costs by investing in advanced technologies. Respondents included 115 executives spanning the roles of chief financial officers, chief information officers, revenue cycle managers, and supply chain functional leaders at hospital systems across the US.
The results showed that as a whole, the industry is still in the early stages of AI adoption. Those executives who said they are familiar with AI and RPA are two times more likely to implement AI to solve workflow challenges instead of leveraging existing systems.
The survey also revealed that familiarity and understanding of AI technology has a significant effect on hospital executives’ decision-making. Forty-three percent of leaders prefer a company to build, deliver, monitor, and support automations, while 26 percent prefer to choose the platform themselves and then hire consultants to build their solution.
Eighteen percent said they would rather choose the platform themselves and have their employees build the solution, and 13 percent said they would prefer to hire consultants to both choose the platform and build the solution.
Executives named improving care quality, improving patient engagement and satisfaction, and improving efficiency and reducing costs as their top three priorities for AI adoption. Additionally, leaders see high growth potential in automating high-volume, repetitive tasks in several areas, including supply chain management, revenue cycle management, finance, and human resources.
These results align with a 2018 market report, which stated that the market for healthcare AI is likely to surpass $34 billion by the middle of the 2020s, largely because of a growing desire to automate tasks.
Healthcare executives’ hesitancy to invest in AI solutions also echo findings from a late 2017 survey. Conducted by the Center for Connected Medicine, the poll showed that close to two-thirds of healthcare organizations marked AI deployments as low or very low priority. Just five percent of respondents said that AI solutions are among their top IT priorities.
This could be due to the fact that healthcare executives are hesitant to adopt AI unless they have a concrete use case for the technology, and a specific area they know these tools could improve.
“[It] boils down to what’s the return of investment and where does it get applied,” one CFO respondent said at the time. “AI in a more tried and true area, such as business functions (e.g., revenue cycle), may make more sense, and make it easier to justify the expense.”
The researchers on the Olive AI survey noted that these business function tasks may be a solid way for organizations to reap the benefits of this advanced technology.
“As an industry, healthcare is united by a mission to deliver better patient care, and a huge barrier to delivering that promise is the challenge that one in every three dollars is spent on administrative expenses. Imagine what could be done if more resources were available to focus on patient care,” said Rebecca Hellmann, Chief Marketing Officer of Olive.
“With AI becoming more mainstream and offering a clearer path to value, hospitals no longer need to build out a massive technological infrastructure before benefiting from the efficiencies that it can create.”
Date: August 12, 2019
Source: Healthit Analytics