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Accenture: AI will lead to $150 billion in annual savings by 2026

Growth opportunities are hard to come by without significant investment, but artificial intelligence (AI) is a self-running engine for growth in healthcare. According to Accenture analysis, when combined, key clinical health AI applications can potentially create $150 billion in annual savings for the US healthcare economy by 2026.
AI in health represents a collection of multiple technologies enabling machines to sense, comprehend, act and learn so they can perform administrative and clinical healthcare functions. Unlike legacy technologies that are only algorithms/ tools that complement a human, health AI today can truly augment human activity.
With immense power to unleash improvements in cost, quality and access, AI is exploding in popularity, Accenture writes. Growth in the AI health market is expected to reach $6.6 billion by 2021—a compound annual growth rate of 40 percent. In just the next five years, the health AI market will grow more than 10×2, according to earlier research by Frost & Sullivan.

AI Health Market sees Explosive Growth

AI represents a significant opportunity for industry players to manage their bottom line in a new payment landscape, while capitalizing on new growth potential. To better understand the savings potential of AI, Accenture analyzed a comprehensive taxonomy of 10 AI applications with the greatest near-term impact in healthcare.

The assessment defined the impact of each application, likelihood of adoption and value to the health economy. The top three applications that represent the greatest near-term value are robot-assisted surgery ($40 billion), virtual nursing assistants ($20 billion) and administrative workflow assistance ($18 billion). As these and other AI applications gain more experience in the field, their ability to learn and act will continually lead to improvements in precision, efficiency and outcomes.

Focus on four areas

To be positioned to take full advantage of new AI capabilities, Accenture suggests that health organisations focus on four areas:
Workforce: The nature of work and employment is rapidly changing and will continue to evolve to make the best use of both humans and AI talent. For example, AI offers a way to fill in gaps amid the rising labor shortage in healthcare. AI has the power to alleviate the burden on clinicians and give workers tools to do their jobs better.
Institutional readiness: To realize greater value from AI, healthcare players can incorporate AI expertise in their organization’s structure and governance. They also should build an AI-smart workforce and culture that will use AI to enhance efficiency, quality and outcomes.
Care reach: AI can magnify care reach by integrating health data across platforms. However, as new technology is introduced, various data sources must be connected to enable a seamless experience for patients.
Security: Parties in the ecosystem will need to work together in an ethical way, and be secure in how they manage critical information on patients.

AI, robotics transform healthcare landscape

Last May, consultancy form PwC wrote a report on how AI and robotics are transforming healthcare already. The explosion of healthcare data combined with the rise in demand from ageing populations around the world, rising costs, and a shortage of supply has left a monumental gap that only technology like AI and robotics can fill.

The emergence and increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics will have a significant impact on healthcare systems around the world. The PWC report looks at the benefits of AI and robots for healthcare professionals and stakeholders like patients and governments. One of AI’s biggest potential benefits is to help people stay healthy so they don’t need a doctor, or at least not as often. 

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