Research: Half of hospital decision-makers plan to invest in AI by 2021

AI in healthcare

Olive AI has run a study to explore how hospital leaders are responding to the imperative to drive efficiency and reduce costs through strategic investments in non-clinical technologies. The study audits the state of adoption and investment in AI and robotic process automation (RPA), and found that we are still in the early stages of AI adoption in healthcare. Specifically, the findings indicate that:

  • Only 50% of hospital leaders interviewed said they were familiar with the concept of AI/RPA;
  • More than half of hospital leaders were unable to name an AI/RPA vendor or solution;
  • 23% of hospital leaders are looking to invest in AI/RPA today, while half plan to do so by 2021;
  • Those familiar with AI/RPA are two times as likely to implement AI to solve workflow challenges instead of leveraging existing systems.

With an estimated $1 trillion of healthcare spending going toward administrative costs (labor being the largest component), hospital leaders are starting to look expansively at technology that improves efficiency across the enterprise.

There are several factors that impcat AI-related decision-making, including:

  • Purchasing approaches vary with 43% of hospital leaders preferring to choose a company to build, deliver, monitor and support automations. 26% preferred to choose the platform themselves, then hire consultants to build their solution, 18% preferred to choose the platform themselves and have their employees build the solution, and 13% preferred to hire consultants to both choose the platform and build the solution.
  • Meanwhile, improving efficiency and reducing costs remains a top three priority (behind improving quality of care and improving patient satisfaction/engagement).
  • Executives see high growth potential in automating high-volume, repetitive tasks in these functions: supply chain management, revenue cycle management, finance and human resources.

“As an industry, healthcare is united by a mission to deliver better patient care, and a huge barrier to delivering that promise is the challenge that 1 in every 3 dollars is spent on administrative expenses. Imagine what could be done if more resources were available to focus on patient care,” Rebecca Hellmann, Chief Marketing Officer of Olive, said in a statement. “With AI becoming more mainstream and offering a clearer path to value, hospitals no longer need to build out a massive technological infrastructure before benefiting from the efficiencies that it can create.”

Olive conducted this survey in partnership with Sage Growth Partners, an independent healthcare market research, consulting and marketing firm. The survey respondents included 115 executives spanning the roles of chief financial officers, chief information officers, revenue cycle managers and supply chain functional leaders at hospital systems and independent hospitals in the United States.