The Cost Of Care: How AI Is Revolutionizing Healthcare And Driving Down Prices

The cost of healthcare is once again at the center of a national debate. With premiums rising, the baby boomers aging, and diabetes, the most expensive disease in the world, affecting 10% of the US population, the rising cost of healthcare in America is an issue that affects all of us. In the past, the implementation of new and emerging technologies in healthcare has contributed to the climbing costs. In contrast, the application of AI into healthcare is promising to drive those costs down.

Healthcare is an enormously expensive industry and the costs are steadily climbing. According to World Book, in 2014 healthcare made up 17.1% of the GDP of the United States- up 4% from 1995, and continuing to grow. The application of artificial intelligence into healthcare is promising to greatly reduce these expanding expenses while improving healthcare quality and access. By 2026, it’s estimated $150 billion could be saved annually in the US healthcare economy by AI applications. It’s no wonder that healthcare is currently the number one investor in AI.

One of the areas in healthcare that will be most significantly impacted by the application of artificial intelligence is clinical documentation. AI applications in medical workflow management are estimated to accumulate $18 billion in annual savings for the healthcare industry by 2026, the third largest estimated savings from AI technology in healthcare after robotic surgery and virtual assistants. Modern healthcare AI is capable of learning and comprehending and can perform clinical healthcare functions in much the same way as a human, minus human error.

Physician error in clinical documentation is an understandable yet costly complication in healthcare, and AI is able to streamline the tedious clinical documentation process and automatically generate accurate and complete reports. Many AI healthcare programs are capable of fully augmenting human behavior and can perform tasks from risk analysis to patient diagnosis. Physician engagement in clinical documentation is a critical component to the quality and costs of healthcare, and AI applications are proving to increase physician engagement and improve clinical documentation quality.

With so much potential to improve not only healthcare costs, but also access and quality, the AI health market is currently experiencing a boom, and is expected to grow into a $6.6 billion dollar industry by 2021. This growth makes sense when you consider that the nation and the world are currently facing a shortage of doctors and healthcare personnel, and AI offers hospitals and physician practices a way to combat their rising operational and labor costs, while enabling them to better perform critical administrative functions quickly, accurately, and cost effectively.

Artificial Intelligence seems like the wave of the future, but the reality is, the future is here. In today’s medical environment of value-based care, appropriate reimbursements are incumbent upon accurate, high quality clinical documentation. As AI continues to grow and evolve, AI enabled clinical documentation improve

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How Healthcare Is Being Reinvented Through Digital Transformation

The digital healthcare market is expected to touch $206 billion by 2020, as a joint study by SAP and Oxford Economics concluded that nearly 70% healthcare companies are planning to digitally transform their operations, while nearly 61% believe that this will increase patient satisfaction.

Most healthcare providers today have strong plans for digital transformation, and their efforts are changing the way they deliver healthcare through new and innovative methods. Hospitals today deliver ambulatory, inpatient, outpatient and day surgery services; patient record access; and telemedicine in different ways through their revamped processes and technology-enabled execution. Even as the providers are creating and delivering new digital products and services to improve clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction, they are also finding wholly new business models capable of value generation through new business models. Players like Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Apple are also trying hard to carve out a market share for themselves, with varying levels of success.

As the healthcare sector turns compulsively to adopt a digital strategy, let’s look at how they are reinventing the way they perform through digitalization:
Using healthcare interoperability to enable the sharing of patient data across the care continuum of healthcare providers and stakeholders to provide coordinated collaborative care to one and all.
The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is here, in a confluence of IoT, telemedicine and Telehealth technologies, bringing wearable devices like ECG and EKG monitors into use and playing a critical role in tracking vital medical stats to prevent or manage chronic illnesses and to provide virtual care to patients, increasing customer satisfaction in the process.
Wearable devices are making it possible to monitor patients in real time, obviating the need to physically admit them to the hospital. Virtual caregiving is set to allow aging people to stay home, even as their health status gets monitored for any signs of decline.
Countries with large populations with limited access to providers are turning to telemedicine, even as physician appointment wait times and Medicaid acceptance rates keep increasing year-on-year. Telemedicine is an important tool which enables even remotely located patients to access specialists as technology make it possible to match the right healthcare professional with the right patient, whether face-to-face or through virtual care portals.
Automation, AI and chatbots are making it possible for patients to reduce costs as they avoid visiting a doctor and obtain self-care instructions, as we use healthcare data and analytics to enable better treatment plans and patient outcomes.
Chatbots are making it possible to handle routine medical queries using AI-backed messaging and voice systems, while machine learning improves the abilities of the chatbot with each interaction. They also make appointments, prove prescriptions, run lab tests, provide a smooth billing procedure and track health data.
AI can replicate the capabilities of a human in processing information and making decisions, increasing the speed and accuracy of diagnosis. AI-enabled body scans spot cancer early, saving lives. AI is being used to explore chemical and biological interactions and to improve the formulations of old drugs and test the efficacy of new drugs without the need for expensive clinical trials.
Big data analytics is leveraging health data and tracking epidemics by merging population data, health and migration statistics to help prevent epidemics, reduce costs and cure diseases. It’s also being used to detect identity thefts and healthcare frauds.
Robots which assist a surgeon or perform surgeries themselves are now a reality, while others provide support to people with sensory, cognitive and motor impairments (comprising of nearly 20% of the world’s population) or their caregivers. Humanoid AI-enabled robots are helping lonely humans to remain independent longer with their company and conversations.

To enable healthcare providers and patients the required access to sensitive patient data in compliance with the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the industry is turning to cloud computing rapidly.

The digital healthcare industry is also working to improve its digital marketing strategies by focusing on the quality of its content and its ability to convert visitors into patients as it increases engagement and provides the vital and relevant information it needs to share with the consumer.
Digital healthcare is undoubtedly disrupting the healthcare scenario in various ways, requiring a complete revamp of processes before the newer efficient ways of delivering healthcare can take effect. Even the insurance sector is turning to digital transformation using out-of-the-box projects in health insurance, which adopt a value of care approach instead of focusing on volumes. For all these innovative new approaches to take root and become a norm rather than the exception, organizations must not only adopt and exploit the advantages offered by healthcare digital transformation, but also engage with and motivate their workforce to gain the requisite skills to make the best use of these facilities.
At Prime, we understand the complex challenges facing the healthcare industry, and we can help you navigate a path to the future

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