Another year is coming to an end and as tradition we have reached out to our thought leaders to see what they think we can expect next year. Join us for the next few weeks as we look at what we might see in 2023. So what should we look forward to when it comes to AI, health data, and Analytics?
2023 may be the year that high-availability genetic testing finally arrives as a broadly-adopted mechanism to help clinicians improve care and lower costs. Integrated solutions at the point of care that better route and utilize the insights from these diagnostics will be the final piece to round out the increasing consensus of clinical and economic utility for specific diagnostics such as pharmacogenomics (PGx). In contrast, the promise of advancements and AI and ML to unlocking a step function in care improvement and efficiency are still outstripping both our technical and regulatory infrastructure. Borrowing lessons from the delivery of diagnostic insights, a continued drive towards tactical utility, developing improvements in technology architecture, and focus on enhancing vs. disrupting existing clinical workflow will be essential as these high-potential solutions come of age.
Although widely used in other industries, healthcare lags behind in the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing (NLP), and robotic process automation (RPA). These advanced intelligence and automation solutions can emulate repetitive human actions to streamline workflows and increase efficiencies across any hospital department, resulting in significant ROI and resource savings. With their never-ending need for reporting and data entry, hospitals in particular are ideal settings for these solutions, especially with the unprecedented levels of administrative burnout they are experiencing.
That’s why in 2023 and beyond, I predict we’ll see more hospital environments – from billing and finance to information technology and human resources – implement these technologies to improve productivity by both automating repetitive functions, and reducing time spent on administrative processes. On the clinical side, upgrading to AI, NLP, and RPA technologies will drastically reduce clinician burnout by replacing paper-dependent manual activities with automated digital workflows for time-consuming tasks like scanning documents and managing access to patient records, as well as processing notes, patient admissions, and discharge records. As hospitals continue to seek ways to control costs and improve financial stability while improving employee satisfaction and patient outcomes, these technologies will play an important role. As we close out 2022, we’re already seeing more hospitals planning investments into AI, NLP, and RPA for the coming year – which is an optimistic sign for healthcare’s future resurgence.
It’s everybody’s business to listen to the voice of their customers. Entire healthcare enterprises are using and leveraging conversational AI to understand their mission and the problems within their organization. It’s becoming an insights source for all functional areas — not just the operations side of the house — and that’s super exciting.
We’ll see more conversational AI used to understand the social and emotional factors playing into patient health decisions. And those factors are equally as important as their clinical factors. In the future, organizations will recognize the value of using emotional and cognitive AI to identify and analyze social determinants of health and understand the holistic view of a patient. Consequently, these providers will be more responsive.
Patients will increase their use of taking data to make decisions – There is a lot of attention paid to wearable technology, but those devices simply deliver patients data on their own health without actionable insights. In 2023, I see a shift toward providing patients insights about their own health and ways they can use this information to take an active role in improving their health. Data without insights is just numbers, and are often why many people feel apprehensive toward using wearable tech for long-term use.
A CTO needs to deliver technology that improves services and processes for healthcare providers. After all, providers want their physicians focused on healthcare delivery not technology. CTOs should not buy AI because it’s AI or because it’s the latest and greatest tech. Instead, CTOs should think about the potential AI offers. How will it work in their specific organization? How will it improve business processes? That’s absolutely critical. Previously, you could get away with saying, ‘We’re implementing AI or digital transformation’ and get a blank check, but that’s not going to fly anymore. Organizations want to see results and need to see impact. A CTO can’t just make a big statement that AI is the future and get whatever budget they want. In 2023, the rubber will meet the road.
Embryo Selection & AI – More Than Just a Coin Toss
One in five (~19 percent) women in the United States experience fertility challenges. Even with the latest advancements in fertility treatments, on average only 30 percent of prospective parents have successful IVF outcomes in one treatment cycle, and these percentages drop as women age. AI is enabling the digitization of the embryology lab, improving workflows and supporting clinical decision making, bringing both clinical and operational efficiency to the IVF field.
Transparent AI tools, which provide explainable AI insights, are supporting embryologists in embryo quality assessment and enabling consistent decision making by IVF professionals with high levels of accuracy. Transparent AI gives embryologists insights based on vast amounts of aggregated data to guide their decision. As adoption of these solutions increases, patients will likely choose fertility clinics that utilize AI-powered IVF technologies that bring increased transparency to the IVF process and are designed to increase the likelihood of embryo implantation leading to a live birth.
Better Decisions with Better Data Quality
Few vertical markets experience the dynamic tensions inherent in a high-performance cloud-native data strategy as healthcare. At hospitals, unstructured patient data can be quickly examined, and surgical teams can make relevant connections with fellow staff, patients, and their families. While healthcare data breaches continue to impact the healthcare sector at alarming rates, hospital decision-makers still aspire to leverage current, accurate, and high-quality data while navigating the many security and privacy constraints (including but not limited to HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules). Looking at 2023, more hospitals will learn how to integrate and capitalize on the high-quality data recorded by their EHR, leading to improved care and better outcomes.
AI – Automating Intelligently. Many of the AI solutions remain relatively narrow in application and not fully generalizable. We are still some way from being able to generalize capabilities but ignore these tools at your peril. They are IMO one of the key tools to reducing unnecessary friction in healthcare. Friction for patients, friction for staff, friction for processes. Remove friction and increase satisfaction with a side benefit of efficiency. What’s not to like – it is not Skynet but rather “HealthNet” that is coming with this raft of tools.
The continuous advancements in AI and machine learning through robotic processes and intelligent automation are enhancing the data insights provided by RTLS, which in turn will help healthcare facilities better understand process optimization, which translates to greater efficiency and improved patient care in the coming year.
We see enormous opportunity for AI to help clinicians more fully focus on patient care and support more precise treatments that lead to better outcomes. This includes using AI to partially generate time-consuming progress notes and expanding outcome dashboards to include and integrate different data streams, such as measurement based care, diagnosis data, remote patient monitoring information on things like sleep and movement, and service utilization data for more precise insights. With a relatively low barrier to entry, we anticipate seeing more companies in this space emerge in the year ahead. However, adoptees should pay special attention to HIPAA and other privacy standards, as this may feel invasive in the early stages. The winners will involve clinicians and patients in the development of these tools to ensure they are ethical, secure and useful.