Dona Senara enthuses that artificial intelligence is impacting healthcare

AI in the global healthcare sector experienced an unprecedented surge, reaching a value of some US$ 19.5 billion at the end of 2022. With a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 38.5 percent, it’s expected to reach nearly 182 billion dollars by 2032, according to research firm Future Market Insights.

This impressive growth is credited to the widespread adoption of AI technologies, which drive innovations from predictive analytics to personalised medicine.

In their pursuit of improving patient care, streamlining operations and enhancing efficiency, healthcare providers have embraced artificial intelligence as a transformative force in reshaping the delivery of medical services.

Healthcare has made remarkable strides; it now offers earlier diagnoses, better treatment and potential cures, thanks to rich and actionable data insights.

The accessibility gap is widening, and affecting both underresourced and wealthy urban areas globally. Urgent solutions are required to address these issues – and artificial intelligence is a powerful ally.

AI has already demonstrated its ability to alleviate some of healthcare’s burdens. For instance, generative artificial intelligence tools and chatbots streamline administrative tasks, and allow healthcare professionals to focus more on patient care.

Recent studies highlight AI’s ability to enhance diagnostic accuracy and potentially save lives. Predictions for this year indicate even more ground­breaking developments that range from accelerated drug discovery to personalised medicine and improved patient engagement.

Nonetheless, artificial intelligence in healthcare comes with legitimate concerns.

AI algorithms can inadvertently perpetuate biases present in healthcare data and put patient information at risk. As technology evolves, policy makers across the world are racing to establish guidelines… but challenges persist.

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), various organisations – including Mayo Clinic Platform, Validate Health, Philips and Google – have taken steps to ensure ethical use as they recognise the need for responsible AI deployment.

The AI Code of Conduct (AICC) of the US’ National Academy of Medicine (NAM) initiative aims to provide a comprehensive framework that harmonises existing principles, aligns stakeholders, identifies roles and responsi­bilities, describes the necessary architecture and facilitates continuous learning to govern artificial intelligence in healthcare.

To realise the full potential of AI in healthcare, cross sector collaboration and coalition building are essential. NAM’s initiative emphasises the need for industry-wide responsibility in ethically navigating this transformative journey.

By harmonising principles, aligning stakeholders and fostering continuous learning, AI can be applied accurately, safely, reliably, equitably and ethically so that individuals are placed at the centre of this technological revolution.

Drawing on management consultancy firm McKinsey’s expertise, leaders must prioritise three crucial but frequently neglected steps: allocate resources for essential foundational standards and infrastructure; evaluate and monitor potential value with a focus on widespread implementation; and establish trust in the organisation among staff and patients through careful preparation.

The effective incorporation of AI into the healthcare system with a focus on timeliness and ethical considerations requires collaboration models, investments in foundational technologies and talent, as well as a systematic approach to risk management.

Scaling up the implementation of technology while addressing and minimising risks enables healthcare leaders to reap benefits across five key areas – viz. enhanced quality of care, improved experiences for patients and staff, streamlined adminis­trative processes, lower expenditure and optimised systems management.

The future of AI in healthcare hinges on striking the right balance and acknowledging opportunities while responsibly managing challenges. Ultimately, the long-term success and impact of artificial intelligence in transforming healthcare relies on ethical considerations, collaboration and strategic implementation.

Through innovation, collaboration and responsible deployment therefore, the world can pave the way for a future where technology transforms lives with compassion and precision.