In the past few years, the healthcare industry has undergone an ample amount of changes. These changes are more in the ways how the healthcare industry stores data. Moving backward in our distant past, remind us of the old paper-based method to keep health records. It doesn't exist anymore in our present. Instead, we have new data-keeping methods, i.e., online digital records where storing & sharing information is easy.
Intelligent automation like robotic process automation (RPA), machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) have the power to shift employees from data routers to critical-thinking humans, with newfound capacity for high-value tasks and patient care that demands a human touch. Healthcare organizations understand how automation can irreversibly change how they work. In 2020, 90% of hospitals and health systems implemented an AI and automation strategy, up from 53% in 2019. With heightening pressures to cut costs, increase efficiency and facilitate a better patient experience, intelligent automation is critical for the business of healthcare and care delivery. Over the past year healthcare employees, both on the frontline and in back offices, worked relentlessly to manage essential work.
The future of healthcare relies on removing the robot from the human to focus on what matters most – the patient experience and mission-critical work of delivering care. Administrative processes are the backbone of healthcare operations, but they're inefficient, error-prone, and limit employee capacity. No industry stands to experience more return on investment from automation than healthcare. The familiar myth of robots stealing jobs is highly exaggerated, as the primary benefit of automation is not headcount reduction, but the ability to reassemble redundant tasks for maximum productivity. It's true, intelligent automation will reconfigure our jobs from the mundane, time consuming tasks, but that's exactly what's needed in healthcare.
There is a significant difference between automation and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the medtech space. Automation, within a healthcare setting, is defined as the use of hardware and software specifically programmed to save time. AI can be categorized as machine learning, meaning software and hardware working in conjunction to effectively mimic human decision-making -- just much, much faster. AI can learn outside of its programming, and the goal is for the software to make a decision of equivalent quality, compared to a human. The use of automation and AI is integral within the medtech space, as data is becoming increasingly important to manage and understand.
As healthcare continues to shift toward automation and AI, a new report from the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program suggests a need for changes in both education and workplace culture for individuals to cope with the transition. Though many experts believe humans and healthcare will be "better off" because of AI and related technologies, it's important to note there may be an impact on the workforce. "Automation, forever a major determinant of the nature and availability of work, will continue to reshape the work people do and the opportunities they are afforded," the report read. "Whether this should be alarming or only cause for slight anxiety depends." And while increased risk of automation will be most prevalent among individuals who perform routine, predictable physical and cognitive tasks, healthcare is not out of the woods.