Consumers Embrace AI

December 19, 2019

A new survey from Blumberg Capital reveals that a strong majority of consumers are supportive and optimistic about implementation of AI in healthcare.

Although there are still concerns around the implementation of artificial intelligence (AI), consumers are overall optimistic about the potential benefits, according to a new survey.

The survey from Blumberg Capital, an early stage venture capital firm investing in AI and health tech startups, found that consumers are increasingly confident about the use of data to power sophisticated AI models and deliver better service and value. Consumers also hope to leverage healthcare data, and are optimistic this trend will drive better outcomes at a lower cost.

“This creates an opportunity for healthcare systems to innovate with the support of consumers,” says David Blumberg, founder and managing director of Blumberg Capital. “Moving into next year, we expect to see greater adoption of cutting-edge healthcare technology-targeting individual patient care and institutional solutions-as well as more funding of healthcare/AI-related companies.”

 AI is being used in a multitude of ways across the healthcare industry, from improving patient care with better diagnoses, treatment planning, care delivery, aftercare support, as well as streamlined processes for sharing medical records and making payments, according to Blumberg.

“AI is also playing a role internally within health systems by streamlining work flow, resource allocation, and administrative tasks, while keeping healthcare information, networks and patients safe and secure by monitoring and preventing cybersecurity vulnerabilities in healthcare systems,” he says. 

Artificial intelligence in healthcare is expanding globally, with recent reports showing that the market will be worth more than $27 billion by 2025-an annual growth rate of 43.5% from the end of 2018. Among other factors, this dramatic growth is largely driven by the pressing need for cost reduction, the demand for more accurate diagnoses and improved patient outcomes, according to Blumberg.

“Healthcare as an industry has been historically slow to adopt information technology,” he says. “However, this is changing for the better as the benefits and safety have been demonstrated with digital EMRs [electronic medical records], improved genetic testing, and many other innovations such that consumers are increasingly comfortable with and even demanding the adoption of more AI-driven innovations in healthcare. Administrators are listening, evaluating, and bringing new technologies into provider networks.”

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For instance, data analytics companies are creating applications using AI to better predict patient outcomes, he says.

“In addition, the unique requirements of healthcare systems for up-to-date safety as well as integration with legacy compliance regimens has inspired and rewarded medical-tailored cybersecurity solutions such as our portfolio company Medigate,” Blumberg says. 

AI evolves

AI has evolved considerably from consumers thinking of it as simply robots performing tasks in healthcare, according to Blumberg.

“Today, a strong majority of consumers are supportive and optimistic about implementation of AI in healthcare,” he says. Our recent survey found that 81% believe AI will improve patient care. Further, 82% think AI will improve healthcare data and increase collaboration between doctors and medical facilities. Eighty percent of consumers think that AI will have a positive impact on the healthcare workforce itself.”

Not only are consumers in favor of more AI in healthcare, they expect healthcare organizations to leverage this promising new technology, according to the survey. According to survey findings, nearly 70% of consumers want medical providers to prioritize using AI for more accurate treatment and almost 60% want it to be used to reduce costs through automation.

“AI has the power to improve diagnoses, accelerate the pace of drug development, enable minimally invasive yet highly efficient surgical procedures and simplify the data flow to ensure better patient care, payments, and compliance at a lower cost,” Blumberg says. “AI can also be used in pattern recognition to find the best treatment and avoid dangerous, costly errors.  Leveraging AI and other software to schedule and allocate tasks more efficiently should save medical caregivers time and help prevent burnout and errors due to fatigue.” 

Further, AI can assist with automating more routine procedures, such as checking vitals, allowing skilled healthcare professionals to focus more on providing quality care with a human touch, according to Blumberg.

“Through leveraging automation, health systems can save costs by enabling providers to focus on the most complex tasks,” he says.

 

“The potential of AI in the healthcare industry to deliver major impact is here and now,” Blumberg says. “Consumers are increasingly open to and expect that care providers, insurers, and hospitals adopt new technologies that can improve healthcare, reduce costs, and minimize their concerns about the safety of their health and their personal data.”