Artificial Intelligence (AI) provides a device or software program the ability to interpret complex data, including images, video, text, and speech or other sounds, and act on that interpretation to achieve a goal. AI tooling specialists and vendors have started to target and tackle some of the biggest pain points across the health sector. The health sector faces continuously rising costs and needs help to achieve better outcomes with limited resources.
Most stakeholders in most sectors resist disruption because they like the status quo. Healthcare, on the other hand, currently demands disruption. With soaring costs and wasted time in every part of the ecosystem, the healthcare sector needs to evolve to deliver high-quality consistent care and value. Hence, many different types of AI applications have emerged, including drug discovery, finding patients for clinical trials, transcribing notes for electronic health records (EHRs), providing pre-primary care information to patients, predicting worsening heart conditions, apnea or asthma and alerting clinicians to potential ‘code blue’ emergencies hours before they occur.
Unfortunately, clinicians in most hospitals often must work with pen and paper or pagers from the 20th century and have limited access to secure, networked devices. AI vendors hoping to implement in hospitals need to help their clients implement the necessary infrastructure or devices to deliver actionable analytics. Also, with human lives potentially at stake, AI vendors also need to establish a reputation of trust with PoCs and get proper regulatory approval before attempting to scale. Once scaled, they may need to assist with data curation through managed services for clients that lack data scientists.
AI vendors should aim to improve the efficiency and productivity of clinicians or healthcare operations and help them deliver higher quality care. Only a couple applications have resulted in commercialized and scaled solutions, but most show some promise. If successful, these applications could produce more effective drugs, save doctors’ time, and save lives. The “Company profiles” section contains analysis on the positioning, strengths, and weaknesses of a variety of vendors. This report examines the drivers, barriers, and potential of AI in healthcare.