What tool can your management team take from Netflix, Amazon, Lyft, Uber, and Walmart? Two words—artificial intelligence (AI).
It shouldn’t be surprising that these companies are using AI to improve their customer’s experience. Netflix’s AI “algorithmically adapts the entire user experience to each individual subscriber” (see How Netflix Uses AI And Data To Conquer The World); Amazon uses AI “to come up with product recommendations based on what users already said they liked” (see How AI Is Helping Amazon Become A Trillion-Dollar Company); Uber uses AI for “precise routing, fare estimates, and mapping” (see Uber And Lyft Are Taking Artificial Intelligence Along For The Ride); and Walmart uses AI so that consumers are “served product recommendations based on their previous behaviors” (see How Walmart Is Going All In On Artificial Intelligence).
For these companies, AI is part of the every day reality—but there is a different story in health care. Many executives we speak with say they are “far” from using AI and that it is too “sci-fi” for them. To those skeptics, I like to point to the explanation offered by my colleague OPEN MINDS Senior Associate David Young—”Although AI certainly has a sci-fi sound, with dystopian feel to it, it’s just an extraordinarily fast and deeper level of using data that is already around us every day.”
We’re surrounded in our everyday life by organizations and services using AI for competitive advantage. This data technology will slowly remake the health and human service markets by changing the expectations of consumers and the power of professionals (see Ready Or Not, Cognitive Computing Will Change Your Organization).
What are the ways that provider organization executives can buy AI-infused technology solutions? The report in Entrepreneur, 5 Ways Artificial Intelligence May Affect Health Care in the Near Future and What That Means for You, offers five options for consideration:
Digital consultations—AI will offer the ability to delve deeply into the clinical record (think in terms of millions of case files) and come back with relevant questions clinical professionals can ask for individual consumer treatment. For more on how this works, check out our coverage of natural language processing (see Can Someone (Or Something) Make Sense Of The Notes In Your EHR?). An example of this is the Akos Med Clinic, available now in some Safeway grocery stores. It is a self-guided medical station powered by AI. The station is consumer self-guided and can provide diagnoses for ailments such as “sinus infections, earaches, sore throats, rashes and urinary tract infections” (see Albertsons Unveils ‘First-Of-Its-Kind’ AI-Powered Medical Clinic In Its Safeway Unit).
Radiology and images—AI deployed through “computer vision technology” can be trained to look at x-rays or images to find significant patterns and information, instead of these services relying solely upon trained professionals. An example of this is VisualDx, a clinical decision support system for primary care practitioners, to assist them in differential diagnosis, such as identifying rare diseases or unusual variations of common diseases (see AI Diagnosis Tool Bridges The Gap Between Doctors And Patients).
Personalized medicine—The potential of personalized medicine to customize treatments and medications has largely been driven by the promise of genetic research, and possibly genome-based electronic health records (EHR) would be a parallel to the current EHR platform (see Personalized Medicine & EHR Evolution). While that specific tech is still in development, AI-driven diagnostic tools can still rely on natural-language processing and computer vision technology to make a consumer-specific diagnosis and inform a more personalized approach to treatment. An example includes Embrace, the first-ever non-EEG based physiology signal seizure monitoring system for children, and approved by the FDA in January (see How AI and Genomics Can Treat Epilepsy).
Cybersecurity—According to HIPAA Journal, last year was a bad year for health care data breaches with a reported 351 data breaches of 500 or more health care records, and the exposure of over 13 million consumer records (see Largest Healthcare Data Breaches of 2018). AI offers the potential to use advanced cybersecurity to monitor “normal network behavior and identify and block any anomalous activities that could indicate vulnerabilities or attacks.” For a look at some of the tech vendors that are providing AI-driven cybersecurity, see Cybersecurity in Healthcare – Comparing 5 AI-based Vendor Offerings.
To get a perspective on how provider organization executive teams can take their first steps in harnessing the power of AI, we spoke with OPEN MINDS Senior Associate David Young about what’s around the corner (so to speak):
AI is a term used to describe many aspects of using advanced statistical models to gain insights from information or predict future events with those statistical models. It is important for provider organization executives to know that AI is probably already affecting their organizations and their services today.
Be assured that health plans are already using different models of AI when examining claims, doing utilization review, and anticipating service needs from populations. They are using this technology in fraud detection, provider network development, and provider productivity (measured against quality metrics and contract requirements). This is not “future tense” but current uses. Executive teams that are not aware, or don’t understand the basics of AI use in health care (business and clinical) are already behind.
Executive teams should think of using AI in two ways. First, there are AI-infused services that your organization can purchase from a wide array of vendors. Your organization can embrace already-developed AI tools for decision support, consumer engagement, and many other applications. Second, AI is a tool to answer complex questions. What are the questions—the questions that you can’t answer right now—that your team needs to answer that bring more value to your payers and your consumers? For example, what consumers would not benefit from traditional therapy approaches? What clinical professionals are most successful with particular types of consumers? From there, how can you deploy AI-infused technologies to answer those questions?
Health care has had a reputation for slowly adapting to technological change, but the world of value-based payment, increasingly strict oversight, and modern consumer demand leave us little choice but to move forward and keep pace with these changes. AI is one of the most important changes since the introduction of electronic health records.
Looking for more on the exciting world of health care tech? Then don’t forget to mark your calendars for The 2019 OPEN MINDS Technology & Informatics Institute on October 28-30, 2019, at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.