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How Digital Health and Artificial Intelligence will Impact the Healthcare Industry

As the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show came to a close earlier this month, it is apparent that future advances of the use of technology appear closer than we think.

Products and services with enhanced technology, including artificial intelligence (AI), are all the rage. In many ways, the healthcare industry is well-positioned to incorporate the use of technology such as AI. In a recent report published by Optum IQ, there is an 88% increase in surveyed organizations that have implemented AI as compared to 2018. Adoption is growing rapidly, and hospital and health plans can expect to see a positive return on AI investment in three years or less.

Where Will AI Be Used in The Healthcare Industry?

  1. AI will be predominately seen in administrative functions such as automating prior authorizations and managing electronic health records. Claims payments, fraud and abuse detection and personalized communications are also areas AI can be incorporated.
  2. There is a growing interest in the use of AI for clinical functions; however, the consensus still remains that clinical decisions need to be made by humans. There may be some value in using AI for reducing care variations and minimizing trial and error approaches, the report also says.
  3. Lastly, the use of AI could be further expanded in population health management using wearable devices and wearable technologies.

Pharmacy Benefit Managers, such as Express Scripts, are developing Digital Health Formularies, which include remote monitoring services and devices for common chronic conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma, pulmonary disease, depression, anxiety and insomnia. The goal is improvements in symptoms, decrease the use of rescue inhalers and better adherence to controller medications.

“We are promoting health, rather than simply treating sickness, and digital solutions, particularly ones that have been vetted to ensure healthier outcomes, are one of the best ways to do this.” - Dr. Glen Stettin, Sr. Vice President & Chief Innovation Officer for Express Scripts, states in a recent newsletter.

I believe at the core of these changes is a focus on patient health and not just treating sickness. It’s not a new idea and we have heard it before in different iterations, but now and into the future, AI and digital technology can make this idea a reality. In fact, we are already seeing this happening in the Cardiology field, where doctors are using implantable cardioverter defibrillators that can detect abnormal heart rythms and deliver a shock to treat the patient. One obvious concern as we continue down this path is the need for advanced data security. This is a known issue, and the rapid advancements of AI have also included enhanced security policy development.

The future is coming, and probably at a pace we are not expecting. Stay connected with your local OneDigital team for further developments. To learn more, read Bob Marino’s article on the Future of Healthcare.