A HIMSS Event | SANTA CLARA, CA | SEPT. 16-18, 2019
By Heather Munro freelance writer focusing on emerging technology.
From turning smartphone selfies into diagnostic tools to creating more intuitive EHR interfaces, artificial intelligence (AI) is set to transform how physicians diagnose patients and ultimately, how patients receive care. Unlike other health tech, AI simulates human intelligence, enabling machines to sense, comprehend, act and learn to perform administrative and clinical healthcare functions.
While it may be years before AI’s full impact is completely felt, investors are already beginning to take notice of its potential. The healthcare AI sector is predicted to be worth $6.6 billion by 2021. Accenture predicts that the top AI applications may result in annual savings of $150 billion by 2026
Of course, AI will never replace physicians, but it is streamlining the provider workflow. A digital health tool created by Buoy Health, for example, is designed to help patients triage their own symptoms. Patients can use Buoy’s symptom checker chatbot to figure out where best to get care: the ER, urgent care center, retail clinic, nurse helpline or through telemedicine. The idea is to free up medical teams so they can spend more time making decisions regarding care rather than helping patients navigate the best option for obtaining it. At the same time, patients receive more guidance on how to proceed than a quick Google search can provide.
Colorado-based startup RxRevu is another company offering decision support tools that supports clinicians and improves patient care. The company’s SwiftRX platform uses machine learning to help doctors choose which medication to prescribe for their patients based on their health, plus financial considerations.
Clinicians see their patient’s medical history, insurance information, out-of-pocket costs as well as lower-cost alternative drug recommendations. By offering affordable treatment options at the point of care, providers can help increase the chances that patients will comply with medical treatment recommendations. Transferring time-consuming human tasks such as looking up cost-effective prescriptions and managing patient triage to machines are just a few ways AI is beginning to streamline the administrative and operational sides of healthcare.
Natural language processing, deep learning, neural networks and other advanced machine learning techniques are giving providers access to more actionable insights than ever, changing how they make clinical and financial decisions. Additionally, chatbots that can triage patients in minutes and algorithms that display price lists on demand allow healthcare consumers to enjoy the modern conveniences they see in other areas of their lives.
The industry’s push to manage costs while improving patient outcomes and the growing trend of the consumerization of healthcare means AI—and the benefits it brings to managing something as complex as healthcare—couldn’t come at a better time.
In this session, we’ll look at the innovations that are driving clinicians’ decision support and discuss the possibilities and concerns surrounding those technologies.