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The critical role of artificial intelligence and machine learning in achieving high-value care

February 07, 2020
Charlie Clark
By Charlie Clarke

High-value care. While it may have slightly different descriptions, regardless of how you may define it, the heart of high-value care is to focus on keeping the patient in mind when making decisions of any kind.

But what is the key to ensuring that each patient receives the best care – from the right test, to the ideal treatment, to the most effective prescription? Increasingly, the healthcare sector is employing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) as critical components for delivering optimal care for each individual.

What is high-value care?
Specifically, The American College of Physicians defines high-value care as an effort to “improve health, avoid harms and eliminate wasteful practices,” while the Institute of Health defines it as “the best care for the patient, with the optimal result for the circumstances, delivered at the right price.”

Though there may be other commonly accepted definitions, they’re all guided by the same common theme. Whether you’re reducing the amount of a patient’s time spent in the waiting room or the amount of money spent for the appointment, high-value care rallies us around a common goal to ensure each patient gets the right test or prescription for their unique needs.

Providing high-value care starts with access to information, which can empower physicians to make the best possible decision for each patient during a single visit. Fully understanding all aspects of a person’s health and well-being – including environmental, societal and hereditary factors – can result in patients getting the treatment they need as soon as possible, which is the foundation of high-value care.

But with packed schedules, limited time to interact with patients and data spread across a multitude of sources, it can be difficult for a busy physician to have enough hours in the day and resources dedicated to collecting and analyzing all pertinent information needed to deliver the best treatment for their patients. This is where technologies such as AI and ML come into play.

The benefits of AI and ML in healthcare
AI and ML use complex algorithms and powerful software to speed analysis of complex medical data coming from disparate sources, and show the relationship between prevention or treatment techniques and patient outcomes. The ability to quickly process huge data sets and foster continued learning can help physicians more effectively determine the best course of action for each of their patients.

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