by John R. Fischer
, Senior Reporter | December 20, 2019
Close to 80 percent of healthcare providers on both sides of the pond plan to invest more in AI over the next two years. In addition, nearly three in four institutions that use or plan to use the computer science technology expect to develop their own AI Algorithm during that time.
Those are two of the findings made in a joint study conducted by MIT Technology Review Insights and GE Healthcare, which consulted more than 900 healthcare professionals in the U.S. and U.K. Of these, more than 78 percent who reported having already deployed AI in their operations have observed improvements in workflow, as well as streamlined operational and administrative activities.
"Today, AI is being deployed at a scale where we can move from speculating about its potential for healthcare to tracking it," said Kieran Murphy, president and CEO of GE Healthcare, in a statement. "From increasing the time healthcare providers can spend with patients to advancing preventive care, we are tremendously encouraged by the trends emerging across the health ecosystem.”
Seven out of 10 healthcare providers have adopted or are discussing the option of adopting AI, according to the study, with 81 percent of respondents expecting it to make them more competitive and 80 percent believing it is already helping or will help them increase revenues. Those who have implemented it see it as a key part in rebalancing physician workload from administrative to patient-focused tasks.
For instance, those who have deployed the technology report spending close to 66 percent less time writing reports for their counterparts, while 45 percent say the use of AI has provided them more time to conduct patient consultations and perform surgeries. Altogether, 78 percent of respondents said it already created workflow improvements, with 60 percent of AI-empowered medical staff able to devote more time to performing procedures instead of administrative duties and other work.
AI has also proven effective in relieving health worker burnout — a trend which has grown in number over the past decade — with 80 percent of respondents noting reductions, as well as the removal of barriers.
Nearly half expect it to allow more robust diagnoses and more focus on preventive medicine. On the treatment side, 75 percent of medical staff say it has enabled better predictions on the right course of action against disease. In addition, 68 percent were able to spend more time collaborating with other staff members and across clinical care areas, establishing the potential for more benefits in patient care and precision health.
Most professionals surveyed see AI as an extension of human doctors’ capabilities in healthcare, rather than as the extinction of them.
"Of any industry, AI could have the most profound benefits on human lives if we can effectively harness it across the healthcare system," said Murphy. "As this research shows, we are already beginning to see its progressive effect, with AI not only fueling efficiencies within health systems, but also truly evolving the healthcare experience for medical professionals and patients."
Respondents included a representative cross-section of medical professionals, business and technology leaders and administrators.
The findings were published in the magazine, MIT Technology Review