Don’t Blink: Healthcare Orgs Using AI, Data Analytics To Speed Up Digital Transformation

Over the next five years, healthcare and life sciences firms will ramp up their digital transformation efforts, driven at least in part by AI and data analytics tools, according to a recent research report. In fact AI, in particular, should revolutionize the nature of work in one in three health systems within a few years, the researchers say.

According to the report, which was written up in HIT Infrastructure, market research firm IDC predicts that 30% of all business and clinical decisions made by these companies will be informed if not dictated by AI technologies.  IDC projects that worldwide spending on AI for diagnosis and treatment will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 24% and should hit $4.9 billion by 2023.

As the article notes, these decisions will be driven by a wide range of steadily richer data sets, including EHR data, lab results, medical images, clinical research and more, with the long-term vision being to develop personalized treatment plans for every patient. (Apparently, IDC didn’t cite wearables and remote monitoring data as specific examples of soon-to-be-leveraged data, but these data sources are very likely to play an increasingly important role as well.)

In addition to AI, data analytics technologies will come into wide use in the near future. IDC predicts that by 2020, 20% of healthcare companies and 30% of life science companies will have rolled out advanced data analytics tools and “intelligent cores” which foster human-machine collaboration. While the article doesn’t explain the intelligent core concept, the term seems to refer to some sort of central computing hub which manages AI activity across an enterprise.

In addition, the research firm predicts that by 2021, 50% of pharmaceutical and biotech firms will use prescriptive analytics or AI using IoT data to optimize their supply chains. (If so, this is the long-awaited outcome of many years of slaving away over hot IoT devices!)

Health plans may also see some data-driven product and service offerings fairly soon. Specifically, IDC expects to see 30% of health plans offer “benefit plans of one” by 2022.  What this could conceivably mean is that health plans could eventually understand individual risks well enough to offer more profitable plans to solo policyholders.

All told, this is heady stuff, and what’s more, probably a reasonably realistic set of predictions. It’s not clear whether healthcare enterprises can absorb all of this change within the five-odd years IDC and other analysts are using, but changes like these are almost certainly going to happen. With AI, data analytics and the healthcare IoT converging, we’re seeing changes likely to set the stage for the next decade of healthcare transformation.

About the author

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.