The Future of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare.

The Future of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming increasingly prevalent in healthcare, enabling doctors to make better treatment decisions. This is largely thanks to the ability of AI algorithms to recognize patterns in large data sets. AI-enabled technologies are also improving operational efficiencies for hospitals, clinics and physicians. They can help to comb through clinical notes, identify inconsistencies and optimize processes.

1. AI-Powered Chatbots

As chatbot technology continues to improve, it’s poised to transform patient engagement in healthcare. From answering routine questions to scheduling appointments, AI-enabled chatbots can help streamline customer service. AI can free up a significant amount of time and energy that would otherwise be spent on a variety of time-consuming tasks, such as booking or confirming appointments, managing no-shows and cancellations, or processing payments or medical insurance claims. This can significantly improve patient satisfaction and adherence to treatment and medical plans. Additionally, AI-powered chatbots can provide a 24/7 support channel for patients, and at times when inbound inquiries spike, such as during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, chatbots can take on much of the work. This can alleviate stress on frontline staff and improve physician productivity.

2. AI-Powered Patient Engagement

The healthcare industry needs to improve its patient engagement strategies. According to a recent survey, patients feel like they are not being heard by their healthcare providers and don’t feel valued. The good news is that AI can help. AI technology can automate time-consuming tasks such as appointment booking, reminders, and handling no-shows. It can also track regulatory compliance and handle billing issues. Another area where AI could make a difference is improving patient outcomes. AI-powered software can analyze large data sets to help medical professionals diagnose patients. It can look at symptoms, patient feedback, Remote Patient Monitoring data for specific physiological parameters, and data from similar groups of patients to make informed decisions. This could reduce human error that leads to unnecessary treatments or worsening of conditions.

3. AI-Powered Patient Self-Service

Using AI, healthcare organizations could create virtual nursing assistants that converse with patients empathically about their symptoms and help them understand their conditions. The software would also automatically check for patterns indicating the onset of illness, such as elevated body temperature. These applications could bolster patient outcomes by increasing adherence to medical treatment. They could also provide personalized "health nudges" to encourage patients to change their diets or exercise more frequently. But these benefits may be offset by concerns about the security of medical data. Currently, 37% of Americans think that using AI in health and medicine will make their records more vulnerable to hackers. In contrast, only 22% think it will improve their security. This view is more prevalent among white (54% vs. 25%) and English-speaking Asian (39% vs. 15%) adults.

4. AI-Powered Clinical Documentation

Artificial intelligence (AI) is all around us, from algorithms predicting what content we’re most likely to engage with on social media to virtual assistants providing real-time customer support. In healthcare, the promise of AI is equally compelling, allowing clinicians to focus more time on personalized patient connections, eliminating repetitive data entry tasks and freeing up physician’s time for value-added care. Today, AI-backed clinical documentation integrity (CDI) tools use speech to text and natural language processing to automatically transform salient conversational content from physician-patient encounters and populate structured and narrative data into EHRs, eliminating manual data entry and transcription. These technologies also enable CDI teams to centralize access to medical and coding references for continuous exposure to documentation guidance, and provide physician performance reporting dashboards to drive program optimization.

5. AI-Powered Patient Adherence

Keeping patients engaged and adherent to their treatment plans can improve patient outcomes. AI can be used to automate communications that alert or nudge patients to check-in with their doctor, watch educational videos, follow up on appointments and complete their medication regimens. Our interviewees also emphasized the need for AI to lighten the administrative burden that consumes as much as 70% of a physician’s time. This could include check-in kiosks that reduce paperwork, automate insurance pre-authorization and help resolve unpaid bills. AI tools that can comb through and classify unstructured data will allow physicians to spend more time focused on diagnosis, research and treatment. But these solutions will require significant rethinking of how they are implemented and regulated, including what role they play in clinical decisions.  

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