A new study of healthcare professionals has revealed that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is widely expected to drive important benefits across the health system, from increasing efficiency to improving patient outcomes, but may also be the key to making healthcare more human. AI’s benefits range from increasing the amount of time clinicians can spend with patients and on cross-care team collaboration to enhancing the ability to deliver preventative care.
The study of more than 900 healthcare professionals in the US and UK was conducted by MIT Technology Review Insights along with GE Healthcare (Chicago, IL, USA).
MIT Technology Review Insights is the custom publishing division of the MIT Technology Review technology magazine, and conducts qualitative and quantitative research and analysis, and publishes a wide variety of content, including articles, reports, infographics, videos, and podcasts. GE Healthcare is a leading provider of medical imaging, monitoring, biomanufacturing, and cell and gene therapy technologies, enabling precision health in diagnostics, therapeutics and monitoring through intelligent devices, data analytics, applications and services.
Based on the study, which examined how AI is currently impacting healthcare professionals and the patients they serve today, roadblocks to adoption and opportunities for the future, GE Healthcare and MIT Technology Review Insights found that AI implementation is pervasive with seven out of 10 healthcare providers already adopting or considering adopting AI. Nearly half of the medical professionals surveyed said that AI is already increasing their ability to spend time with and provide care to patients. Additionally, more than 78% of healthcare business leaders who reported they have deployed AI in their operations also reported that AI has helped drive workflow improvements, streamlining operational and administrative activities and delivering significant efficiencies toward transforming the future of healthcare.
Among those surveyed, 81% believed that AI would improve their performance by making them more competitive, and 80% believed that it is already helping or will help them improve revenues. Even more notably, institutions that have already implemented AI technologies reported that it was playing a key part in rebalancing physician workload from administrative to patient-focused tasks, resulting in more time with patients and collaborating with colleagues across healthcare disciplines. The respondents stated that core administrative tasks, such as updating electronic records, can take up to 10%of their typical work week. Conversely, respondents at institutions with robust AI deployments indicated that they spend nearly 66% less time writing reports than their counterparts. Additionally, 45% of medical professionals said that AI has allowed them to increase time for patient consultations and to perform surgeries. Almost half said that AI would enable more robust diagnoses and more focus on preventative medicine.
AI has also helped alleviate a significant challenge for healthcare providers and institutions facing a rise in health worker burnout over the past decade. In fact, 80% of those surveyed indicated that AI had been instrumental in helping to remove barriers and reduce worker burnout. This paves the way for future improvements as AI-enabled technology scales across organizations to help improve data analysis, enable better diagnoses and treatment predictions, and further free medical staff from administrative burdens. Additionally, the vast majority of survey respondents believe that AI represents the extension – not extinction – of professional capabilities in healthcare.
Some other key survey findings included medical professionals using AI applications seeing immediate gains in reducing clinical error; 75% of medical staff who have AI stating that it has enabled better predictions in the treatment of disease; 78% reported that their AI deployments have already created workflow improvements; 60% of AI-empowered medical staff expect to spend more time performing procedures versus administrative or other work; and 68% spend more time collaborating with other staff and across clinical care areas, leading to potential benefits in patient care and precision health.
These trends are only expected to grow with survey results indicating that nearly 80% of healthcare institutions plan to increase their spending on AI in the next two years, including diverse technologies ranging from medical imaging and diagnostics to patient data and risk analytics. Further, nearly three in four healthcare institutions that use or plan to use AI will develop their own AI algorithms in the next two years.
“Today, AI is being deployed at a scale where we can move from speculating about its potential for healthcare to tracking it,” said Kieran Murphy, President and CEO, GE Healthcare. “From increasing the time healthcare providers can spend with patients to advancing preventative care, we are tremendously encouraged by the trends emerging across the health ecosystem. As a company at the forefront of healthcare data analytics and AI, we believe this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how intelligent technology will transform lives.”