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Almost All Healthcare Execs Expect AI ROI Sooner than Later

By Jack O'Brien  
   October 08, 2019

Fifty percent of healthcare executives expect to see savings related to artificial intelligence in less than three years.

Healthcare executives expect to see a quicker turnaround on their investments in artificial intelligence (AI), according to an Optum survey released Tuesday morning. 

Ninety percent of healthcare executives predict that they will see a return on investment for AI sooner than expected, with 50% stating that it will come in less than three years.

Executives also reported an acceleration of investments in AI, increasing nearly 88% in 2018, which shows the growing interest among C-suite leaders to implement technology to aid their organizations.

Respondents estimated that the average investment in AI over the next five years will be $39.7 million, an increase of $7.3 million compared to the 2018 survey results. 

Related: 10 Areas Where Artificial Intelligence Can Revolutionize Primary Care

A majority of executives stated that they are drawn to AI due to the potential economic benefits and ability to drive job growth. 

Nearly 90% of leaders said hiring employees with prior AI experience is important, but around the same amount said that employees aren't properly trained to "keep up with the growth" of AI. 

Healthcare executives proposed several options for dealing with this gap, including the creation of employee training programs, the establishment of partnerships to shore up weaknesses, work with consulting firms, or even the postponement of projects. 

Related: AI IDs Afib

While much of the excitement about AI implementation centers around its potential role in clinical settings, executives indicated that most current investments go towards administrative applications.

Four of the top five applications that leaders felt comfortable implementing AI processes for were administrative protocols, namely customer service. 

Rounding out the top five applications were automating prior authorizations, managing electronic health records, detecting fraud, waste, and abuse, and selecting appropriate care settings.

More than a third of leaders said they have focused on utilizing AI for drug therapies while the same percentage of leaders reported investing in research driven by AI. 

Related: 3 Leaders; 3 Approaches to Innovation

Jack O'Brien is the finance editor at HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

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