August 11, 2023 – A recent study conducted by Bain and Company unveiled a surprising finding: while health executives are well aware of the potential of artificial intelligence (AI), many struggle with effectively harnessing its capabilities due to a lack of strategy and prioritization. As a result, researchers have developed a list of guiding principles to aid executives in navigating this complex landscape.
The healthcare industry faced significant financial challenges towards the end of 2022, largely attributed to the lasting impacts of the pandemic, staffing shortages, and inflation. Despite these obstacles, a mere 6 percent of health systems have leveraged AI to tackle these issues head-on.
AI, particularly in the form of generative AI, holds tremendous promise in addressing critical concerns such as clinician shortages and physician burnout. Although these factors are often prioritized by health systems, the adoption and implementation of AI have proven to be stumbling blocks for many.
With the rapid pace of technological advancement, solutions can quickly become obsolete, leaving professionals struggling to keep up with unfamiliar territory. Faced with numerous debates and challenges around focus and prioritization, valuable time is often wasted.
Recognizing the immense potential AI offers to boost productivity, Eric Berger, a partner in Bain’s Healthcare & Life Sciences practice, urges companies to embrace a diligent and deliberate approach. “Leading companies are taking this technology shift seriously and getting started with highly focused, low stakes use cases with some near-term ROI while building up the experience and confidence needed to invest in a more transformative vision,” Berger states.
In response to this pressing need for strategic guidance, Bain and Company has formulated a set of principles to steer the implementation of AI. The first principle emphasizes starting small and proceeding cautiously, with initial applications focused on low-risk areas. This approach not only minimizes the margin for error but also yields accurate data that can generate a positive return on investment.
Additionally, CEOs must determine whether to buy, partner, or build AI technology based on access and priority. An organization’s readiness for future technological advancements is another crucial consideration. Bain and Company highlight the importance of balancing cost savings and growth to ensure sustained success.
It is imperative for healthcare organizations to acknowledge that AI is not a substitute for human expertise but rather a powerful tool to support and enhance existing goals. When properly implemented, AI can have profound benefits, as demonstrated by the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ study on AI-based scheduling. By leveraging AI, physicians were able to significantly reduce the time spent on scheduling, allowing for increased work-life balance and improved engagement rates.
In conclusion, the potential of AI in healthcare is indisputable. However, the key lies in developing strategic approaches that embrace AI as a vital asset in addressing complex industry challenges. By adhering to the guiding principles set forth by Bain and Company, executives can chart a course towards sustainable success and maximize the potential of highly trusted AI technology.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. What is generative AI?
Generative AI is a branch of artificial intelligence that involves machines or algorithms creating original and novel output, such as images, music, or text.
2. How can AI help address clinician shortages and physician burnout?
AI can assist in various ways, including automating administrative tasks, streamlining workflows, providing data-driven insights for decision-making, and facilitating more efficient patient management and care coordination.
3. Why is it crucial for CEOs to decide whether to buy, partner, or build AI technology?
This decision is essential as it determines the organization’s access to technology and the degree of control and customization it can achieve. It also impacts the speed and efficiency of AI implementation.
4. Can AI replace human expertise in healthcare?
No, AI cannot replace human expertise. It is designed to complement and support healthcare professionals by augmenting their capabilities, optimizing processes, and providing valuable insights for better decision-making.
5. How can AI benefit physician scheduling?
AI-based scheduling can significantly reduce the time and effort spent on manual scheduling, allowing physicians to achieve better work-life balance, improve engagement rates, and enhance overall productivity.