What is AI Doing in Healthcare?

September 25, 2023
Hexagons on screen representing healthcare AI
Artificial intelligence (AI) has the capability to advance—if not revolutionize—non-acute healthcare by improving how providers diagnose, treat and monitor patients. AI is positioned to drive a growing number of healthcare use cases, including leveraging advanced machines and technologies that analyze medical data to predict an outcome or help physicians determine a diagnosis.
These use cases are part of the reason the global AI healthcare market is expected to jump from $10.4 billion in 2021 to $164.1 billion by 2029, according to Fortune Business Insights. That represents an impressive 42.4% compound annual growth rate.

Unlike other analytic technologies, AI can quickly analyze and summarize extremely large volumes of complex medical data. This opens a range of new possibilities and opportunities in healthcare, such as helping providers determine the best treatment options for patients based on myriad criteria and data points.
“The healthcare industry faces several challenges, such as pandemics, chronic diseases, mental health concerns and a shortage of medical professionals, which generative AI could potentially address,” according to the World Economic Forum. “Generative AI isn’t just a passing trend; it's a rapidly evolving ecosystem of tools growing in popularity showing huge potential to revolutionize healthcare in ways we’ve never seen before.”


AI can be implemented across non-acute healthcare to improve patient care and outcomes. For example, AI can offer real-time analysis of remote patient monitoring systems, or analyze patient data and clinical trial data to predict people at risk of diseases, conditions or complications. Likewise, AI can recommend personalized healthcare treatments based on patient information and characteristics.
Plus, with its ability to interpret large volumes of data and medical tests including MRIs and X-rays, AI can provide in-depth analytical insights and therefore offer a diagnosis quickly.
“Currently, the most common roles for AI in medical settings are clinical decision support and imaging analysis. Clinical decision support tools help providers make decisions about treatments, medications, mental health and other patient needs by providing them with quick access to information or research that's relevant to their patient,” according to IBM. “In medical imaging, AI tools are being used to analyze CT scans, X-rays, MRIs and other images for lesions or other findings that a human radiologist might miss.”
Another factor that allows AI to quickly provide valuable and detailed insights is that it can analyze a variety of data types. For instance, AI performs analysis of text, images, audio, 3D modeling and coding, the World Economic Forum notes. This could lead to breakthroughs across the medical field.  
“The dream is that AI can reduce costs, make work so productive that fewer staff are needed, triage patients faster and ensure they are cared for in the right setting,” according to an article in Forbes

With the right approach, AI can help on the business side of facilities, too. It’s able to predict patient volumes, which enables clinics to optimize their resources and potentially reduce waiting times based on expected patient visits. AI-enabled technologies can also share accurate and timely information for treatment including prescriptions, helping providers better communicate with patients.
The right AI approach can also increase access to quality care and identify any gaps in a patient’s treatment plan. AI enables patients to start treatments earlier to encourage higher rates of success, through its ability to understand root causes of disease and identify early symptoms. Plus, with the pandemic ushering in a huge increase in the number of telehealth appointments, AI can make telemedicine more data driven.
“[AI] is being increasingly used in telemedicine to allow doctors to make more data-driven, real-time decisions that may improve the patient experience and health outcomes by allowing them to work more toward virtual care alternatives throughout the care continuum,” according to the Arizona Telemedicine Program.
AI enables more efficient services, which can improve health outcomes and lower costs. Healthcare Dive estimates that AI could save the healthcare industry $360 billion annually if it’s more widely adopted. Savings would come from improved clinical operations, quality and safety, as well as accelerating claims management, automating authorizations and enabling other services to be performed faster. 

“Choosing the right AI technology entails considering its effectiveness, efficiency and interoperability with existing systems and platforms already in use by the facility. ”

Facilities can start their AI journey by determining which tools will deliver the most value for their clinic and patients, and which make the most sense from a financial perspective. For example, bringing AI into clinical workflows can provide physicians with context and information when making healthcare decisions, or it can be used to automate administrative processes.
As IBM points out, “A trained machine learning algorithm can help cut down on research time by giving clinicians valuable search results with evidence-based insights about treatments and procedures while the patient is still in the room with them.”
AI capabilities are not limited to direct patient care. They can also help with scheduling and billing in addition to tasks, such as transcribing. AI transcription can turn spoken words into written text faster than humans can, allowing time and potentially money savings for clinics.
Choosing the right AI technology entails considering its effectiveness, efficiency and interoperability with existing systems and platforms already in use by the facility. Clinics can turn to their group purchasing organization for expertise in choosing and implementing AI to fit specific needs.


Clinics should start thinking now about how they can optimize AI to deliver new value—and many already are. A December 2021 survey among healthcare executives found that:

  • 96% believe AI plays an important role in reaching health equity goals
  • 94% agree they have a duty to ensure AI is used responsibly
  • 89% say AI challenges require partnering with a health services company with data and analytics expertise  
  • 85% have an AI strategy
  • 48% have implemented their AI strategy

Facilities can start small with a single AI use case for their clinics, then build on its success as it delivers a favorable return on investment. Additional use cases can be added to meet other clinic and patient priorities.

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