Survey finds telehealth and AI remain top priorities in post-COVID-19 era

By staff writers

May 7, 2021 -- Two-thirds of global healthcare leaders plan to put a strong emphasis on telehealth in the years ahead, and 74% intend to invest in artificial intelligence (AI), according to Future Health Index 2021, an annual survey conducted by Philips.

In the U.S., 89% of respondents said they intend to prioritize AI and telehealth in the future. However, in the next three years, only 40% said they expect to invest heavily in telehealth, and AI looks set to emerge as a key area for investment (36% today, 74% in three years), the report finds. Healthcare leaders in Saudi Arabia (98%), India (94%) and Russia (85%) plan to prioritize investments in AI the most in 2024, even more than those in the U.S. (80%).

A total of 36% of European respondents and 27% of those in the Asia-Pacific region agree that, to be prepared for the future, their hospitals urgently need to invest in implementing technologies like AI and machine learning. In Singapore, the numbers are higher, with 62% of the sample prioritizing investment in AI postpandemic. Respondents in Europe and Asia Pacific are still above the averages for the Americas (12%) and the Middle East and Africa (6%) when it comes to prioritizing AI in 2024, the authors noted.

Implementing environmental sustainability practices looks set to rise from the bottom of respondents' priority list (4%) to the top (58%) in three years' time, with those in France (86%) and the Netherlands (81%) leading the way. The trend is more pronounced among those who work in technologically advanced hospitals or practices (71%) and those in developed markets (65%), according to the survey.

Overall, respondents remain optimistic about the future. The vast majority (86%) think their hospitals showed resilience during the pandemic and feel confident in the future (75%).

More details on the new 25-page report are available on the Philips website.

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