Artificial Intelligence: What does it hold for the healthcare industry?

In the first blog, we talked briefly about the benefits and impact of artificial intelligence today. We discussed the relevancy of AI as a tool and how it brings together human judgment and data to drive innovation, enhance problem-solving, and improve decision making. This new blog discusses in greater detail the impact of Artificial Intelligence on the healthcare industry.

Artificial Intelligence is a data-driven technology that enables computers to perform tasks previously requiring human intervention. Be it healthcare, manufacturing, or any other, AI has become a critical disruptor in all industries.  It helps improve fundamental operations and delivers strong business results. For instance, a report by IBM states that 35% of the companies are already using AI while an additional 42% are exploring AI technologies.

The business world is full of use cases that show the value of AI tools and integration in increasing time efficiency, reducing errors, improving monitoring, and optimizing customer service. For instance, among organizations that used AI to automate their IT, business, or network processes, about 54% of organizations reported increased cost savings, 53% reported improvements in IT or network performance, and 48% reported improved customer experience. Furthermore, there are more than 3 billion AI-powered voice assistants currently in use, and 97% of mobile consumers use them.

Despite all the concerns about AI and the controversies surrounding generative AI (like ChatGPT), it is quite evident that artificial intelligence is a key component of the present and future of the digital landscape. From automating operations to enhancing productivity and error mitigation, AI provides numerous business opportunities across industries. Let us look at some use cases and examples of how artificial intelligence is transforming the healthcare industry.

AI in the healthcare industry

The importance of healthcare for humankind is beyond obvious. It is an industry that involves the intersection of human judgment and scientific data. Thus, it is natural for the industry to embrace this smart technology as it brings these respective two factors even closer together. AI has demonstrated significant value in transforming healthcare and elevating medical treatments.

Per a report by Grand View Research, artificial intelligence in the healthcare market grew at a rate of 167.1% from 2019 to 2021. The report adds that the global AI healthcare market is expected to expand with a CAGR of 37.5% from 2023 to 2030. Furthermore, per Statista, the AI in healthcare market was worth 11 billion USD in 2021 and is forecast to reach 188 billion USD by 2030.

The impact is clearly huge! Here are some use cases where AI has helped transform the industry:

  • Chatbots/Virtual Assistants
  • According to a study by Verified Market Research, the healthcare chatbot market size is projected to grow at a CAGR of 19.16% (from 2022) and reach $943.64 million by 2030. AI-powered chatbots facilitate interactions and make them more convenient for users. They provide benefits like 24×7 availability, reduced waiting time, and quick access to critical information. In the digital age, chatbots and virtual agents have been deemed the next frontiers in customer services and (healthcare) business planning and management. For instance, they have made their way to most hospitals, laboratories, and pharmacies, and are effectively used for tasks like appointment scheduling, symptoms assessments, addressing coverage and claims concerns, medication management, and mental health assistance.

    Pfizer, one of the biggest biopharmaceutical companies in the world, launched three digital assistants – Medibot (for the US), Fabi (for Brazil), and Maibo (for Japan) to improve the accessibility of medical information for patients and healthcare providers. MediBot was the first in line and was used to answer specific questions related to the stability of biologic medicines and temperature-sensitive vaccines.

    Now certainly, the term “chatbot” refers to a wide variety of solutions with varying levels of sophistication.  Rules-based chatbots are relatively rudimentary, may use very limited AI, and are heavily restricted in terms of their range of understanding and responses.  On the other end of the spectrum, generative AI can take advantage of very broad knowledge bases with the ability to carry on sophisticated conversations (albeit with varying levels of accuracy and bias).  Many customer support tasks and medical information requests can be very reasonably handled today by chatbots and virtual assistants.  At the same time, the conversational capabilities of more sophisticated healthcare chatbots continue to expand rapidly.

  • Surgical robots
  • AI algorithms enable machines to perform cognitive functions. This, in principle, has allowed healthcare innovators to enhance the capabilities of surgical robots, improve patient outcomes, and reshape the healthcare industry. These modern marvels are constantly learning from large data sets and are “not” constrained by time or memory. They are allegedly more precise than human surgeons and alleviate the cognitive and physical stress of healthcare professionals.

    For instance, the Da Vinci Surgical System is one of the most renowned surgical robots that has gathered the limelight in the medical world. Developed by Intuitive Surgical, the muti-arm robot has proven massive value in reducing the number of surgical errors and making the surgical procedure less invasive for patients. The robot recently made it to the news with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearing it for simple and radical prostatectomy.

  • Diagnosis support
  • Artificial intelligence can perform many redundant tasks much more quickly than humans. Moreover, AI also unlocks the ability to multi-task and eases the workload on existing resources. For example, pathologists spend a lot of time counting the number of cells that meet certain criteria. AI can easily perform this activity and reserve human brainpower for important clinical interpretation of those numbers and treatment recommendations.

  • Clinical decision support
  • The healthcare industry has a vast amount of data about health records and delivery systems. AI processes this data to help clinical providers make better decisions. It delivers valuable insights that further help in diagnosing ailments, treatment planning, and health management. This clinical decision support is elevating data-intensive specialties like radiology, pathology, and ophthalmology.

  • Back-office administrative tasks
  • AI can also improve clinical decision software to reduce the administrative burdens of healthcare facilities. For instance, AI-powered tech like NLP can help in translating clinical notes into Electronic Health Records (EHRs). This eliminates the need to enter data multiple times. AI-based software can also ease other administrative tasks like staff scheduling, insurance payments, and record maintenance.

Lastly, AI can help the healthcare industry drive cost savings. According to a report by HBR, the cost of inefficient administration in the healthcare industry can reach $91 billion. Fortunately, AI can help you mitigate this. For instance, AI can provide cost benefits by optimizing the healthcare supply chain, reducing costs with population health management, and maximizing revenue with reimbursement management. A report by McKinsey and Harvard researchers claims that AI could save the U.S. up to $360 billion annually if adopted more widely in healthcare.

In the next blog, we will discuss the impact of AI on the BFSI industry.

Learn how Celsior healthcare IT solutions is helping companies in industry to transform.


Shobhit Kulesh

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