Even more change is on the horizon and 2024 is likely to bring significant transformation to the healthcare industry. Changes will be characterized by the rapid explosion of artificial intelligence and its integration across the healthcare ecosystem, unlocking the potential to improve healthcare delivery and patient outcomes.
Imagine this: You're a healthcare professional about to embark on a series of home visits to care for elderly patients. However, what sets this day apart is the AI copilot you’re using that’s seamlessly integrated into your existing workflow. As you set out on your day, your AI copilot assists in managing your appointments, reminding patients about their scheduled visits, and even discreetly monitoring conversations to identify early signs of health issues like depression or anxiety.
This scenario may seem like science fiction, but in 2024, it's poised to become a reality.
In this article, we will explore five compelling predictions for healthcare next year, highlighting how these advancements will shake up the industry, improve operational efficiency, enhance patient engagement, and ultimately pave the way for a healthier, more connected future.
Prediction #1: Generative AI will help align providers and patients for improved health outcomes
Generative AI is set to revolutionize how healthcare organizations optimize operational efficiency and tackle the pervasive challenge of patient engagement. The healthcare system is plagued by a lack of alignment and coordination among various stakeholders, leading to suboptimal healthcare interactions. This is exacerbated by the burden of administrative tasks, a significant contributor to healthcare worker burnout and patient care abandonment. According to the American Medical Association (AMA), a staggering 89% of physicians have reported that prior authorization delays can have a detrimental impact on clinical outcomes.
Generative AI offers a promising solution. It is set to streamline healthcare workflows, empowering providers to manage complex tasks and automate administrative burdens, freeing up more time for direct patient care. Moreover, generative AI will enhance patient literacy and engagement by offering personalized, easily understandable health information and encouraging proactive patient interactions. Picture automated outreach campaigns, such as flu shot reminders, achieving remarkable response rates and delivering unparalleled patient experiences. Armed with AI, healthcare providers will be better equipped to allocate more time and expertise to diagnosis and treatment, ultimately raising the bar for patient care and satisfaction.
Prediction #2: AI will reduce payer friction across the healthcare ecosystem
As we approach an election year, the significance of AI for healthcare payer organizations is becoming increasingly evident. During this period, there will be a growing emphasis on harnessing the power of AI, particularly in areas like benefit processing, to streamline operations and bridge the gap between clinical and administrative data. This alignment effort is instrumental in improving claims experiences and transparency, both of which are essential as we prepare for upcoming regulatory changes.
With Medicare Advantage poised to exceed a 50% share of Medicare coverage markets, generative AI will play a pivotal role for payers. It will enhance member experiences across plan selection, provider choice, healthcare financing under new Part D Prescription Payment plans, and navigating the ever-evolving healthcare landscape. By minimizing friction within the payer ecosystem, AI is set to be a driving force behind the creation of more efficient and patient-focused healthcare systems.
Prediction #3: AI copilots will help combat healthcare workforce shortage
Persistent and growing staffing shortages have long been a concern for healthcare organizations. In 2024, AI will come to the rescue, equipping healthcare workers with the data and intelligence required to provide even better care. Imagine community health workers (CHWs) and family caregivers armed with AI copilots that assist them in delivering in-home care. These AI assistants will not only guide them but also provide suggestions on topics to discuss and offer insights required by the medical team.
Additionally, AI can automatically remind patients about upcoming appointments, coordinate activities like arranging transportation, and even analyze voice markers to detect potential health issues, such as depression and anxiety. The data collected by AI can then be used to update the medical team for follow-up actions automatically. With AI copilots in the picture, CHWs will have the context they need to follow up with patients more accurately, identify potential issues, and ensure better health outcomes. This democratization of healthcare tools will bridge the workforce gap, bringing the industry into a new era of efficiency and accessibility. It represents a shift towards social and community-driven healthcare roles in the 21st century, ultimately delivering superior care for all.
Prediction #4: The need for AI transparency in AI models
As AI and technology become increasingly pervasive in healthcare, healthcare AI vendors will face growing pressure to address the need for AI model auditability, driven by increasing AI regulations. Healthcare organizations will prioritize tracking and understanding the operations of AI models to ensure accurate decision-making, protect patient data, and maintain full transparency and accountability.
This drive towards AI transparency is pivotal in building trust and confidence in AI-driven healthcare solutions. It meets regulatory requirements and ensures that healthcare professionals have the insights they need to make informed decisions, ultimately benefiting patient care.
Prediction #5: Innovation advancements will be driven by compliance
Next year isn’t just about AI. In fact, we’ll see healthcare organizations adopt a strategic approach to budget tech allocation, with a focus on initiatives that ensure compliance with upcoming mandates, such as those aimed at prior authorization/denials processes and the implementation of value-based care models and payment plans. This approach aims to enhance operational efficiency while satisfying new regulations. It's about striking a balance between compliance, innovation, and budget constraints, ensuring that healthcare organizations can drive better health outcomes without causing disruption that leads to staff abrasion and consumer dissatisfaction.
These predictions illustrate the pivotal role that AI is set to play in reshaping the healthcare industry. In this era, technology takes center stage, driving efficiency, transparency, and a patient-centered approach to healthcare delivery. These advancements not only can benefit patients, payers, and providers but also address today’s most pressing challenges.