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3 Keys to Drive Adoption of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

Artificial intelligence adoption is on the rise, but businesses must improve their adoption strategies, data integrity and leadership training to reap the benefits.

3 ways to drive artificial intelligence in healthcare

Source: Thinkstock

By Jessica Kent

- For artificial intelligence in healthcare to grow, organizations must improve implementation strategies, data management, and leadership training, according to an Infosys report.

The cross-industry survey of more than 1,000 business and IT leaders in seven countries set out to determine the effect of artificial intelligence (AI) on return on investment, employees, and organizational leadership.

“What’s clear from the new 2018 research is that AI technologies are no longer experimental or hidden behind the scenes, but rather they are already broadly deployed, producing real results and impacting business strategy,” the report states. “In this environment, business leaders will need to rapidly and radically evolve their leadership skills, managing people and artificial intelligence to maximize both, while driving toward a shared future where AI benefits everyone.”

Eighty-six percent of organizations surveyed said that they are in the middle or late stages of AI deployment and see AI as a major facilitator of future business operations.

Seventy-one percent of healthcare providers and life science companies said that AI adoption opportunities will inform their future business strategies.

READ MORE: Artificial Intelligence is Altering Healthcare, but Not with “Magic”

However, the survey indicates that if organizations want to see measurable benefits from AI, they must have AI implementation strategies in place. Eighty percent of respondents having experienced growth after adopting AI agreed or strongly agreed that they had a clearly defined strategy for implementing new technology.

Healthcare providers have struggled with identifying the long-term benefits of potential AI initiatives. In a 2017 survey, 50 percent of healthcare organizations admitted they were struggling to understand how to apply AI to their current business problems. The confusion could lead to organizations failing to fully capitalize on AI capabilities.

Nearly half of the Infosys survey respondents with defined AI strategies said that their organizations experienced improved process performances, while 34 percent of respondents without AI strategies said the same.

Additionally, 45 percent of respondents with defined AI strategies said they saw employees doing higher-value work compared to 26 percent of organizations without AI strategies.

“In the spirit of ongoing digital transformation and innovation, AI initiatives should be thought of as an opportunity to reinvent every aspect of business for the better,” the authors of the report noted.

READ MORE: 84% of Execs: Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Healthcare

Data management issues are also keeping organizations from reaping the benefits of AI.

“Data underpins most AI technologies; yet, nearly half of all respondents (49 percent) reported that their organization is unable to deploy the AI technologies they want because their data is not ready to support them,” the report states.

The healthcare industry is very familiar with data difficulty and its impact on technological implementation. In fact, a 2017 report found that the healthcare industry was at the bottom of the AI adoption list, largely due to its lack of accessible and quality data.

According to the Infosys report, the same still holds true. “AI, of course, is only as good as the accuracy and integration of the data it ingests,” it states.

Healthcare organizations that commit to solving their data problems will quickly see the rewards of AI. According to the Infosys report, 89 percent of IT decision makers said their organizations plan to invest in data management.

READ MORE: How Healthcare Can Prep for Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning

Business executives must also adapt their leadership skills to ease the transition between new and old practices as AI technologies are adopted.  

Business executives themselves believe they are up for the challenge, with three-fourths (76%) reporting being confident or extremely confident that their executive teams understand and promote the positive aspects of AI.

However, a similar percentage of IT decision makers indicated the executive teams in their organizations could benefit from formal training on AI adoption.

In addition, 61 percent of healthcare providers and life science companies said that they have a difficult time finding leaders for AI integration.

These findings align with a recent poll of IT professionals across multiple industries in which 47 percent of respondents said their executives don’t have a firm grasp on data-driven business intelligence principles.

Digitally literate leaders are more likely to see the benefits of emerging technologies and are more likely to experiment with advanced algorithms that will contribute to the success of their organizations.

“Business leaders need to evolve their skills and also gain a deeper understanding of the technologies that are driving their business forward,” Infosys authors recommend. “If they do not, they will not be able to maximize the benefits of their AI or their employees, and they might find that they themselves have become obsolete.”

AI can deliver real results for organizations willing to take the necessary steps for successful implementation.

“By employing knowledge management platforms to amplify and augment human decision-making, AI techniques will be applied to solve more of the complex engineering and business problems organizations face, while at the same time igniting human ingenuity and creativity,” the report concludes.  

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