- Last quarter saw a record number of investment deals (29) in the healthcare artificial intelligence space, CB Insights reported.
- The number of deals beat the previous record by three, and 2017 is set "to reach a six-year high."
- Last year, 88 artificial intelligence investment deals were made in the healthcare space, a 31% year-over-year increase, CB Insights noted.
CB Insights is putting the numbers behind what industry insiders have already been noticing: Artificial intelligence is hot in healthcare right now.
From a provider standpoint, many are just beginning to explore the possibilities and see how such capabilities can fit into the care delivery setting. Many providers are looking into patient readmissions as one area for a use case.
However, due to the infancy of the current clinical use cases, artificial intelligence receives a fair amount of skepticism in the healthcare space. For one, "artificial intelligence" has become a catch-all shorthand for some disparate topics such as predictive analytics and machine learning. CB defined artificial intelligence in the space as "startups leveraging machine learning algorithms to reduce drug discovery times, provide virtual assistance to patients or improve the accuracy of medical imaging and diagnostic procedures, among other applications."
Another issue that adds to the skepticism is the potential costs of new technology. Providers have felt burned before because of high-cost EHR systems that helped contribute to administrative burden across physician offices and health systems nationwide.
Still, companies are making a play for the space, as it's a market that's expected to grow.
“[Hospitals] are very excited about [artificial intelligence] and are actually very bold about it, which is surprising because hospital systems don’t tend to be usually bold. But they’re making investments,” James Golden, managing director of PwC Health Advisory, told Healthcare Dive at HIMSS17 in February. “This stuff is coming. It’s coming fast. It’s being viewed as a research project. In the next few years, it is not going to be a research project."