All in on AI: How Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Healthcare

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05/23/2019 in Blog

Taken together, they're the two biggest words in technology today: “Artificial Intelligence," or AI, where machines use algorithms to make decisions and learn and adapt based on data they collect and analyze. AI has been variously described (and some say, hyped) as “groundbreaking," “transforming the world," and about to “change everything."

All you have to do to see AI in action now is turn on your smartphone and interact with Siri — or take your self-driving Tesla for a spin around the block. Every time Pandora recommends a new song that perfectly fits your musical tastes, or a major manufacturer uses sensors in its factories to find potential problems and proactively suggest solutions, that's artificial intelligence in real life. A recent report from the research firm Gartner predicts the global business value derived from AI will climb from $1.2 trillion in 2018 to nearly $4 trillion by 2022. “AI," stated the Gartner analyst behind that report, “promises to be the most disruptive class of technologies during the next 10 years."

So, how is artificial intelligence likely to “disrupt" healthcare? Here's a look at some potential use cases for AI, including ways the technology may eventually have an impact on health system marketing and the healthcare consumer experience.

Improving Care — and the Patient Experience

Most of the talk around AI in healthcare alludes to a future where it “will" make care delivery more efficient, or “will" improve clinical outcomes. And it's true: Most clinical applications for AI are still in the works, or have yet to emerge at all. Nevertheless, there are a number of real world scenarios where AI has already made a difference in patient care. Orthopedic surgeons, for example, have used AI-supported robots to significantly reduce incidence of complications during spinal surgery; and one recent trial at Case Western University used AI-supported image analysis to identify tumors in biopsy slides with better accuracy than human pathologists. And on the patient-experience front, AI-driven apps are now available that can help diagnose conditions remotely and connect patients with physicians for telehealth consultations.

Boosting Population Health

Healthcare organizations are increasingly taking on risk-based reimbursement arrangements rewarding effective population health management. Tackling health at the population level, however, requires providers have tools they can use to access and gather insights from “big data." In this area, too, AI has already had an impact. NYU Langone Health in New York City, for example, is using AI algorithms to not only predict which patients are at highest risk of becoming ill, but also who's most likely to respond to outreach efforts. Here's where a customer data platform (CDP), purpose built for healthcare, can help you ingest the data from various sources needed to power such AI-driven insights, plus help you determine other engagement factors like channel preference.

Helping Healthcare Marketing

In a recent survey of more than 500 marketing professionals, respondents listed artificial intelligence as one of the profession's top three “next big trends." The reason they see big potential in the technology? Imagine, for example, an AI-enabled platform that can identify potential customers to help drive new business. Or perhaps we'll see AI-assisted software that can automatically sift through demographic data to help marketing departments better target commercially insured patients, or predict which patients may need intervention so they can focus their engagement efforts on them.

The fact is, as artificial intelligence makes inroads into healthcare, it will also lead to gains in healthcare marketing, especially in the areas of outreach efficiency and effectiveness. Will it be “groundbreaking" or will it “change everything" about the profession and the way marketing departments run? For that we'll just have to wait and see.

Learn more about AI-powered use cases for healthcare data here.