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Healthcare Firms to Spend Average of $32M on Artificial Intelligence

Healthcare organizations surveyed by Optum said they planned to invest an average of $32.4 million over the next five years on artificial intelligence.

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Source: Thinkstock

By Fred Donovan

- Healthcare organizations surveyed by Optum said they planned to invest an average of $32.4 million over the next five years on artificial intelligence.

A full 91 percent of 500 US healthcare leaders said they expect to see a return on investment (ROI) for AI over the next few years. Hospital execs expect to see the ROI in four to five years, while health plans hope to see ROI in three years or less.  

Thirty-six percent of respondents said they expect AI to improve patient experience, 33 percent think AI will decrease per-capita cost of care, and 31 percent believe AI will improve health outcomes.

Three-quarters of respondents said they are implementing or have plans to implement an AI strategy.

Of health organizations that are already investing in and implementing AI, 43 percent are automating business processes, 36 percent are using AI to detect patterns in healthcare fraud, and 31 percent are using AI to monitor users with IoT devices.

“Artificial intelligence has the potential to transform healthcare by helping predict disease and putting the right insights into the hands of clinicians as they treat patients, which can reduce the total cost of care,” said OptumInsight CEO Eric Murphy.

More accurate diagnosis and increased efficiency are the top two benefits respondents anticipate from integrating AI into their organizations.

Most respondents agree that hiring candidates who have experience working with AI technology is a priority for their organization. Close to half of respondents estimate that more than 30 percent of new hires will be in positions requiring engagement with or implementation of AI in the next 12 months.

Ninety-four percent of respondents agree that AI technology is the most reliable path toward equitable, accessible, and affordable healthcare.

“Analytics isn't the end, it's the beginning—it's what you do with the insights to drive care improvement and reduce administrative waste,” said Optum Enterprise Analytics SVP and COO Steve Griffiths. “For AI to successfully solve healthcare’s biggest challenges, organizations need to employ a unique combination of curated data, analytics and healthcare expertise.”

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