The AI Revolution in Healthcare Administration
- Healthcare Administration
- November 15, 2023
- 109 views
- 5 min read
If you have been paying attention to the news over the past 12 months, you know that artificial intelligence has been a hot topic in 2023. Since ChatGPT was released last November, everyone has been speculating how artificial intelligence will change various industries.
Although much of the narrative around AI has been that it will replace humans and put many of them out of work, others believe that AI can be used to enhance human productivity and make our entire economy better. One prominent industry with significant opportunities to implement AI is healthcare, specifically healthcare administration.
Most people would agree that the American healthcare system is not exceptionally efficient, based on the high costs relative to its outcomes, so implementing efficiency tools such as AI would cause more benefits than harm. This article will explore the potential impacts of the AI revolution on medical facilities around the country.
1. Streamlining Administrative Tasks
How many of you reading would rate your experience dealing with healthcare administrators as a consistent 10 out of 10? My guess is not too many of you. Even though most people you interact with in medical facilities are friendly and eager to help, there are structural barriers to the experience being consistently excellent.
For example, medical facilities with good reputations tend to have such high demand for their services that they have difficulty handling the call volume related to scheduling, confirming, or rescheduling appointments. Many of the barriers to implementing online scheduling for healthcare could be alleviated by making our computer systems smarter using AI, significantly improving the efficiency of the appointment scheduling process.
AI can be deployed to simplify portions of billing and claim processing. By streamlining rote functions, AI will reduce errors and free up the time for human workers to focus more on connecting with their patients, other staff, and third parties such as insurance company representatives. Instead of most billing occurring after a significant delay, it could occur more in real-time and be accompanied by more significant access to human support for patients.
One final example relates to AI chatbots. Chatbots are being deployed to handle basic patient inquiries, offering quick responses based on information in the patient’s electronic medical record, such as when upcoming appointments are scheduled or the details about a referral or new medication recommended at a recent visit. This ensures no question goes unanswered and that patients get the answers they need faster.
2. Enhancing the Patient Experience
The net impact of these streamlined administrative processes is an enhanced overall patient experience. Self-scheduling, improved billing accuracy, faster access to answers via virtual health assistants chatbots, and automated appointment reminders are just a few ways AI can make healthcare more patient-friendly.
3. Making Sense of Mountains of Data
One of the areas that AI is uniquely better at than humans is analyzing massive data sets. AI can quickly identify patterns or trends that would be difficult for humans to predict quickly, if ever. In healthcare, the obvious application of these skills is to let AI begin analyzing electronic medical records, test results, and other patient data (in a deidentified fashion, of course).
By organizing health data faster and more accurately than humans can, AI empowers healthcare providers to make data-driven decisions, provide personalized care, and identify potential risk factors or health trends much earlier than they would otherwise be based on clinical exams only. Medical providers can make better decisions about patient care, and medical researchers can make significantly faster progress in exploring new treatments.
Without AI, healthcare administrators and health IT professionals are theoretically the team members responsible for compiling this data. However, they typically do not have the time or skill set to do so at scale. In that sense, AI is likely to become a game changer for improving patient outcomes over the long term, as healthcare administrators can focus on supporting patients directly, and healthcare providers can utilize AI-driven insights throughout their practice.
4. Tightening Up Security
AI will also have a significant impact on cyber security related to personal health information in the coming years. While the points above focused directly on the patient experience or delivery of medical care, it is essential to remember how important it is to protect sensitive health information for our patients.
AI cybersecurity platforms can provide round-the-clock monitoring of the networks running inside medical facilities, as well as the cloud server environments used by the software providers serving the medical industry. It can enhance the effectiveness of zero-trust authentication systems, instantaneously flag suspicious activity, and deploy protective measures independent of human intervention.
As cybercrime continues its inexorable rise, AI is being deployed on an increasingly larger scale in the general cybersecurity arena and will undoubtedly be used to protect electronic medical records against bad actors in the coming years.
Conclusion: The AI Revolution Marches On
By now, it should be apparent that artificial intelligence will play a significant role in healthcare administration in the coming years. Its impacts span from customer experience to administrative tasks and from medical data analysis to healthcare privacy and data security management. Ultimately, there are very few parts of healthcare administration that AI will not impact in the coming years. That said, it is an exciting time to observe these changes, as the benefits of AI are likely to outweigh any negatives over the long run.