The last few years have seen the healthcare industry go through a massive upheaval that has underscored the need for hospitals to be able to operate with greater agility and flexibility. Among the many mechanisms that healthcare administrators have employed to bring about greater productivity, Artificial Intelligence has emerged as a key player, a powerful tool that can be leveraged to produce massive savings in time and money.
What AI-backed Systems Can do for Hospitals
AI has immense potential for healthcare systems. With the power to process large chunks of data in very small amounts of time, AI can be leveraged to work on medical data to provide insights to healthcare IT experts on how to streamline processes, identify inefficiencies, highlight cost-saving opportunities, and reap the benefits of saved time and money.
By effectively utilizing AI’s data ingestion, deep learning and analytics capabilities, AI can help hospitals develop faster, more efficient and far more accurate processes, thus boosting the quality of patient care while at the same time improving profits for the industry itself.
AI spending, boosted largely due to the ongoing pandemic, is expected to quadruple over the next two years. With such a serious investment being made by the healthcare industry in AI-based systems and processes, it helps to examine some of the trends in the way AI is transforming hospitals in their day-to-day operations.
Enhanced Triage with Chatbots
In an endeavor towards digital health systems, the computing power of AI is being harnessed to provide increased primary care and triage with the use of chatbots. Patients can now take advantage of medical chatbots, powered by AI, and available 24/7, to get immediate answers to all health-related queries. By utilizing a chatbot’s capacity to deal with multiple patients at the same time, this AI healthcare application can serve to effectively automate primary care, freeing up significant amounts of time for medical practitioners to focus on patients that require critical attention.
Healthcare IT is witnessing an encouraging trend with the usage of chatbots, as digital human platforms make their way into hospitals. Utilizing AI’s capability to harness data, the accuracy rate of a chatbot is designed to improve over a period of time. Future trends seem to indicate that chatbot-backed diagnoses are a sure thing. The results of using AI-based chatbots are multi-fold: for the patient, this means that avoidable trips to the hospital can be eliminated, and money saved. For medical practitioners, this means a huge saving in time and effort, and a focus narrowed to only the patients that truly require crucial care. For the hospital, fewer patient visits and less manpower utilization result in a boost to productivity and overall quality of patient care.
Procurement Services for Healthcare
Procurement is another healthcare application where AI-based systems have seen a lot of traction, especially through the rapidly-changing needs of the early days of the pandemic. By fully utilizing the capability of artificial intelligence to process massive amounts of information, healthcare organizations have realized major savings in time and billions of dollars in money through marked improvements in efficiencies. AI is being effectively put to work to provide a more productive and less prone to error system for inventory management, patient records, procurement claim filing and other areas in healthcare IT.
By making use of analytic algorithms to review large amounts of data, AI’s procurement systems can derive specific outputs with greater speed and accuracy than manual processes. An AI-backed procurement process could be completed in a manner of hours, rather than days, thus resulting in a significant impact to the healthcare industry’s bottom line.
A veritable revolution in the field of surgery, AI and collaborative robots have created a trend that is likely here to stay. Harnessing AI’s ability to employ past data from previous surgeries, in order to develop new surgical methods, robotic surgeries can drastically improve the quality and outcome of surgeries, especially complex ones requiring surgeons of the highest skill.
The preciseness with which the AI-controlled robots operate translates to reduced possibilities of errors or tremors due to unintended movement during a surgery. Robotic surgeries allow operations to be performed with minimal error, without the question of fatigue (as would be the case with a human surgeon especially in the middle of a lengthy and complicated procedure), and without any of the risks associated with complex surgeries. AI-controlled robots also offer the benefit of three-dimensional magnification to assist skilled surgeons and improving the outcome of the surgery. The use of robotic surgeries brings down case-to-case variations in surgery, and makes procedures extremely precise and minimal-risk.
With so much to say in favor of AI-backed healthcare systems, it would be prudent to investigate whether there are any disadvantages to using artificial intelligence in digital healthcare. One major concern about using AI is in the protection of data; since AI relies on massive amounts of data that need to be exchanged between AI departments and health systems, there is a concern regarding the violation of data privacy. Another concern is that, with a higher degree of AI usage, some departments such as radiology or surgery might suffer loss of employment. A very real risk with artificial intelligence is in the prediction or assessment of a condition that could be wrong – this could have dire consequences for the patient.
Despite the current concerns about the possible risks of using AI-backed systems, there is no denying the transformational power of artificial intelligence in boosting productivity and efficiency of day-to-day hospital operations. If the trend of investment in AI towards healthcare IT continues, the industry looks set to benefit from highly improved, data-driven processes which will help both the industry as well as result in happier patients.