Disrupt or Be Disrupted: Predictive Analytics and Healthcare

September 19, 2019
Marc Helberg

Predictive analytics in healthcare powered by artificial intelligence represents one of the most disruptive shifts. Here's how to take advantage of it.

“Disruption” is a watchword of the business world, whether we’re talking about Uber upending transportation or Amazon redefining retail. It’s no less applicable in the healthcare space. Technological disruption brings positive and negative changes-as well as more complexity-to the industry. But when guided by a clear vision of social responsibility, disruptive technology offers impressive benefits.

Predictive analytics in healthcare powered by artificial intelligence represents one of the most disruptive shifts. After all, it’s fundamentally changing what it means to deliver value to both patients and society. Because this is especially pertinent considering the importance of social responsibility in healthcare, the industry is racing to find new ways to take advantage.

The promises of predictive analytics

Accurate prediction is crucial to successful medical interventions. It’s not surprising that advances in this technology would be in such demand. Initial offerings have been very promising, and machine learning systems are already working to predict risk of severe sepsis, acute kidney injury, stroke, cancer, and other conditions.

This isn’t limited to specific illnesses, either. Currently, there are multiple organizations holding competitions to find AI-based solutions for other healthcare-related issues (such as unnecessary hospital readmissions). We’re also likely to see advanced analytics assist doctors in the development of personalized patient treatment plans. It’s clear that the benefits of predictive analytics in healthcare could be extended to nearly any aspect of medicine.

Part of the technological challenge involves using massive data sets that incorporate information from many patients. This has its own difficulties, including adhering to privacy laws, ensuring data sets are “clean,” and finding the right modeling approach to glean the most insight.

Related article: How Three Hospitals Use Predictive Analytics to Reduce Readmissions

However, conquering these big data challenges in healthcare will pay off in many ways. It’s likely to play a major role in the search for cures for some of our most devastating illnesses.

Another major benefit of predictive analytics in healthcare includes revolutionizing the customer journey. Clear, accurate communication is incredibly important to patients and families, and AI could provide online chatbots, interactive information kiosks in hospitals, and other systems that provide information on demand.

In this regard, systems for predictive analytics in healthcare shouldn’t be seen as disruptors, but as enablers. They’ll enable patients and their families to access healthcare that’s much more efficient, safe, accurate, and private. Likewise, they’ll also make it easier for medical professionals and administrators to provide that experience. This will allow the industry to adhere to a new vision of social responsibility, deliver solutions to stakeholders in a modern way, and help doctors humanize patient interactions.

Social responsibility and benefits for all

The benefits of predictive analytics in healthcare (as well as implementing new solutions as a whole) will usher in a new era. But whether this causes complexity and increased overhead for overburdened healthcare centers or streamlines and enhances services will depend on how it’s implemented.

When considering the many potential disruptive technologies to implement, executives should always prioritize a sense of shared social responsibility. It’s crucial to gather insight from many different players, whether they’re C-suite executives, administrators, doctors, patients, vendors, or others. By working together, the industry will make great strides toward not only an enhanced patient experience, but also reduced costs, increased accuracy, and streamlined information management.

Besides this, leaders should keep patient experience and centricity top of mind. To start, emphasize researching treatments for endemic illnesses such as cancer and ensure the research keeps accessibility at the forefront. Without this focus, the gap between those who can and can’t afford cutting-edge medical care will only widen. Just because something is disruptive doesn’t mean it’s a panacea. Without proper planning, any new technology can create socially divisive pitfalls and implications.

Predictive analytics will bring disruption. This is certain. But with the right planning and consideration by executives-including a focus on social responsibility as a whole-the disruption itself can be incredibly positive.

Marc Helberg is the managing vice president at the Philadelphia office of Pariveda Solutions, a consulting firm driven to create innovative, growth-oriented, and people-first solutions. Read more about the work Pariveda Solutions does here.