Artificial Intelligence’s Role in the Future of Healthcare

Jun 21, 2018

By Chad Morris —

With over a decade of experience helping employers better manage their healthcare costs, I find my mind moving to what the next ten years will look like.  What new ideas and strategies will drive better health outcomes and lower costs?  Will our healthcare system get any easier to navigate?  Any less costly?  We can get lost in this brainstorm for hours, but one thing is certain: artificial intelligence (AI) will have a seat at the table. 

Many eyes are watching the likes of Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Apple and other tech giants for a signal about their healthcare intentions.  These organizations (and others) are filing thousands of patents that could improve the efficiency of delivering care, identifying and treating disease and predicting your chances of dying upon entering the hospital.  For you Terminator movie fans out there, Skynet is coming!  But I wouldn’t spend too much of your mind space worrying about killer robots (quite yet); instead, industry experts predict that AI will play a major role in the healthcare industry in the near future. 

According to a new paper published in Nature, Google’s AI can predict when a patient will die.  But unlike in sci-fi movies, that information could end up saving lives.  This technology is feeding electronic health record data to a deep learning model that could substantially improve the accuracy of projected outcomes.  The hope is that hospitals can use AI and machine learning to find new ways to prioritize patient care, adjust treatment plans and catch medical emergencies before they even occur. 

AI has a tremendous opportunity to create efficiencies, cure and prevent disease and ultimately drive down the cost of care.  Investors are realizing this, and the money is pouring in.  Thousands of healthcare-related tech startups are being created every year, designed to disrupt the current healthcare system.  Not all will survive the startup craze, but many have a real chance.  As an example, Prognos, a New York-based startup, recently raised over $20.5 million in capital with the primary goal to eliminate disease by using AI to predict disease and drive decisions earlier in healthcare.  They hope to achieve this by applying sophisticated AI techniques to analyze over 15 billion medical records encompassing over 180 million people in over 50 disease areas.  Did I mention Skynet is coming? 

Interested in learning about more startups and how they are hoping to improve and disrupt our current healthcare system?  Check out these companies:  Paige.AI, CrossChx, Medopad, NextHealth, Catalia Health—just to name a few.