Healthcare execs investing big, expect big returns from AI in next 5 years, survey says

Over the next five years, a healthcare organization will invest an average of $32.4 million on artificial intelligence, according to Optum's OptumIQ Annual Survey on AI in Health Care.

More than 500 senior U.S. healthcare industry executives — primarily from hospitals clinics and health systems, life sciences organizations, health plans and employers — participated in the inaugural survey measuring their attitudes and usage of AI technologies.

Here are seven survey insights:

1. Seventy-five percent of healthcare organizations are implementing AI or have plans to execute an AI strategy.

2. Nearly all respondents (94 percent) agree AI is the most reliable path toward "equitable, accessible and affordable healthcare." In fact, the top two benefits of AI cited by leaders were more accurate diagnoses and increased efficiency.

3. Here's where healthcare said AI will make the greatest impact:

  • Improve the patient experience: 36 percent
  • Decrease per capita cost of care: 33 percent
  • Improve health outcomes: 31 percent

4. Employers (38 percent) and health plans (20 percent) expect to report a positive return on investment with AI in three years or less. Hospital executives expect to see a ROI within four to five years.

5. Ninety-one percent of leaders expressed confidence in their ability to achieve a full return on investment in AI technologies or services.

6. Healthcare organizations plan to use AI to first automate business processes (43 percent), detect waste, fraud and abuse (36 percent) and monitor users through "Internet of Things" devices (31 percent).

7. Healthcare organizations are increasingly seeking candidates with AI talent, with 92 percent of respondents saying their organizations are prioritizing hiring applicants with AI experience.

More articles on artificial intelligence:

AI with an ROI: Why revenue cycle automation may be the most practical use of AI
Without a hitch: 8 tips for a seamless AI implementation
Deploying AI for optimal impact: It's more than a 'brain in a jar'

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