Healthcare orgs investing big in AI, expect positive returns

Healthcare executives and organizations are extremely confident AI will be the solution to several problems within the industry. They're so confident, in fact, organizations are expected to invest an average of $32.4 million each in AI over the next five years, according to a recent survey of healthcare executives by health IT company Optum.

“Artificial intelligence has the potential to transform healthcare by helping predict disease and putting the right insights into the hands of clinicians as they treat patients, which can reduce the total cost of care,” Eric Murphy, CEO of OptumInsight, said in a statement.

Seventy-five percent of healthcare organizations are actively implementing or have plans to execute an AI strategy, while 42 percent already have a strategy that has yet to be implemented, according to the survey. Twenty-two percent of employers said their AI implementations are at a late stage, with nearly full deployment.

Additionally, healthcare executives are also confident they’ll reap the benefits of investing in AI within the next five years. More than 90 percent of healthcare executives are confident their organizations will see a return on investment from AI.

Of healthcare organizations already investing in AI:

  • 42 percent are using AI to automate business processes
  • 36 percent are using it to detect patterns of fraud, waste and abuse
  • 31 percent are using it to monitor users with Internet of Things (IoT) devices

Optum’s inaugural “OptumIQ Annual Survey on AI in Healthcare” featured responses from 500 healthcare leaders in the United States on their thoughts and usage of technologies. Other findings from the survey include:

  • 94 percent of healthcare leaders agreed that AI technology is the most reliable path toward equitable, accessible and affordable healthcare
  • 36 percent expect AI to improve the patient experience, while 31 percent believe AI will improve health outcomes
  • More accurate diagnosis and increased efficiency are the top two benefits healthcare leaders expect to see after incorporating AI into their organizations
  • 92 percent of organizations agreed hiring candidates who have experience working with AI technology is a priority

“Analytics isn't the end, it's the beginning––it's what you do with the insights to drive care improvement and reduce administrative waste,” Steve Griffiths, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Optum Enterprise Analytics, said in a statement. “For AI to successfully solve health care’s biggest challenges, organizations need to employ a unique combination of curated data, analytics and healthcare expertise – something we call OptumIQ. We are already seeing a race for AI talent in the industry that will grow as adoption continues to increase.”