From Bangalore to Boston, new technologies are being used to automate business decision support applications, streamline regulatory functions and increase efficiency in reporting and medical product development. One of the most promising new technologies is AI.
Use AI to supplement the workforce. Use AI to reduce or eliminate the routine and repetitive tasks that may keep employees from practicing at the top of their ability. Business executives told PwC they hope to be able to automate tasks such as routine paperwork, scheduling, time sheet entry and accounting with AI-enabled tools, giving employees more time to focus on tasks that can be performed only by humans.
An AI tool is only as good as the data it uses for decision-making. To fully realize AI’s potential, companies should start by investing in the basics, such as finding, acquiring and creating good data; standardizing it; and checking it for errors. Companies also should consider how their systems capture, collect, clean, integrate, enrich, store and analyse data, so that it can be integrated with other relevant systems.
Partner. Although 75 percent of health executives plan to invest in AI in the next three years, many lack the ability to implement it. Just 20 percent of respondents said they had the technology to succeed with AI. Companies should consider ways to acquire these capabilities, including partnering with technology firms or hiring the right expertise and working with regulators to manage risk.
Create trust in AI. When investing in AI, companies should devise strategies or campaigns to showcase its reliability and benefits to generate buy-in from regulators. In a recent survey of global CEOs, anxiety about AI’s impending promises and perils was reflected in 40 percent of respondents citing cyber threats, 38 percent speed of technological change, and 38 percent the availability of key skills as extreme concerns. Investing in building trust is worth it, as PwC analysis projects that AI will likely contribute $15.7 trillion to global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2030.
Consumers are increasingly managing their own health and are often counting on the burgeoning virtual health system to help them. An abundance of resources and health products, such as mobile devices and health-related apps, exist, but consumers struggle to make choices without clear guidance from providers and health systems. The result is a lot of missed opportunities to embed virtual health into the traditional health system’s care pathways.
Include virtual care in the overall strategy. In fee-for-service markets, consider the potential of virtual care solutions that can drive direct revenue growth or expand market share through, for example, virtual geographic expansion as opposed to a brick and mortar facility. In value-based care models or single-payer systems, factor in virtual care solutions that improve outcomes and reduce costs, expand access to services, improve utilization management and promote preventive and chronic disease management.
Advise consumers on apps, wearables and other virtual technologies. Consumers are starting to adopt virtual health—with 16 percent of global consumers surveyed already owning a wearable device that tracks or monitors their health, and 31 percent planning to own one— regulators and providers may be missing an opportunity to advise them on their options. Health care organisations and regulators should work collaboratively to advise consumers. In Singapore, a regulatory sandbox is promoting innovation in healthcare models in a safe and controlled environment that protects patients’ interests, gives providers early visibility into the regulatory environment, and supports the Ministry of Health in developing more timely and effective regulations.
Provide consumers with virtual health options. In the US, 14 percent of consumers surveyed had been prescribed a mobile health app by a physician, nurse or other healthcare provider for themselves or a family member. Virtual health can improve outcomes, increase access and lower the cost of care, which is a win-win for the regulators, consumers, payers and providers who embrace the technology.
Develop cybersecurity standards to encourage healthcare entities to adopt virtual care. The US and Singapore have published guidelines, such as Singapore’s National Telemedicine Guidelines, that are publicly available, but more guidance is needed. Seventy-two percent of US consumers surveyed by HRI are concerned about the security of the health information they store or share on a mobile health app on their phones. A cybersecurity strategy is essential to gaining the trust of consumers, regulators and payers.