Report: Healthcare leaders focus on AI, virtual care, partnerships

By Erik L. Ridley, staff writer

April 19, 2023 -- Healthcare leaders are largely focusing currently on artificial intelligence (AI), the benefits of virtual care, and building partnerships outside of their own healthcare system, according to the eighth annual Future Health Index 2023 report.

The report, which was commissioned by Philips Healthcare and surveyed nearly 3,000 healthcare leaders from 14 countries around the world, was released April 18 at the annual meeting of the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) in Chicago.

Interest in investing in artificial intelligence (AI) technology remained high this year, according to Philips. Although the goals of optimizing operational efficiency and integrating diagnostics remained at the same levels of 2021, outcome prediction and clinical decision support have experienced a surge in interest over the last three years, the company said.

Healthcare leaders' reasons for planned investments in AI
  2021 2023
To optimize operational efficiency 37% 37%
To integrate diagnostics 32% 32%
To predict outcomes 30% 39%
For clinical decision support 24% 39%

In other survey results, 70% of the respondents indicated that virtual care has had the biggest impact on improving care or will in the next three years, according to Philips. Furthermore, 41% of the participants said that their facility currently supports intensive or critical care virtually, while 41% said it plans to do so in the next three years.

Also, 44% of younger healthcare professionals indicated that new care delivery models that connect different care settings are a top priority in choosing where to work.

Partnerships across the healthcare ecosystem are also a key trend; 34% are building partnerships outside their healthcare system to be able to provide the best possible care, Philips said.

Their top choices of partners included the following:

  • Diagnostic imaging or screening centers (28%)
  • Ambulatory care centers (23%)
  • Emergency medical centers (23%)
  • Retailers or pharmacies (22%)

Informatics leaders

In responses specifically from healthcare informatics leaders, these professionals are currently focused on collaborating with "clinical-facing organizations" to solve immediate challenges such as staff shortages and the high demands of growing patient numbers, according to Philips. The company also reported that many informatics leaders are already investing in automation to improve productivity and better utilize staff time.

In other results from healthcare informatics leaders:

  • 38% stated that their organization was streamlining patient processes to address financial pressures.
  • 35% said they were investing in automation to streamline internal processes.
  • 45% cited workflow technology -- such as PACS, digital health records, and patient flow automation -- as the number one technology they are either already using or planning to use to help reduce the impact of staff shortages.
  • 41% said sharing functions with other facilities is a top priority for the success of new care delivery models.
  • 43% said they are planning to use decision-support technology, including predictive analytics, and AI in clinical settings, in order to help reduce the impact of workforce shortages.
  • More than 83% said they plan to invest in AI technology within three years.

The full Future Health Index 2023 global report can be found on Philips' website.

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