COVID to AI: How is tech serving the healthcare industry?

AI can transform healthcare by driving data, allowing providers to have quicker time to insights & deliver more personalised care says Andy Nieto, Lenovo

The healthcare industry, like many others, was impacted by the pandemic in 2020. The sector saw increased digitisation, less in-person interactions between both patients and staff, and the necessary technological developments to keep up with the demands of the time. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the uptake and appetite for technology, particularly when it comes to care management software,” Dec Norton, Director of Development at CareLineLive, shared with Healthcare Digital as the industry adapted.

“For many, access to visiting those receiving care has been restricted, and families and friends have turned to carers for updates and assurance that their loved ones are well. Technology empowered and accelerated care providers and carers alike to provide this service during such difficult times, and has also improved the way providers and carers complete processes and deliver care.”

Adapting technologies to serve wider communities

Companies including Wellstar MCG Health (Wellstar MCG) used the digital foundations set during this time to support the rural communities that it serves. 

“When a patient arrives at one of those rural sites, a patient might need specialty care from a type of provider or a clinician that just isn’t available at that rural site,” says Lindsey Wells, a senior account director at Amwell, Wellstar MCG partners. 

“In these scenarios, they work with WellStar MCG to effectively beam a specialist into that room to connect with both provider and the patient for real-time consultation and decision-making support.”

How will AI impact the healthcare industry?

As technology develops, the world turns its attention to AI. Jesse Cugliotta, Global Industry GTM Lead, Healthcare & Life Science at Snowflake shares his thoughts on the key focuses for early Gen AI / LLM returns in the healthcare industry:

“Patients and healthcare regulators will always require a trained and qualified human involved in treating patients,” he says.

“As a result, the early gen AI & large language models (LLMs) actual returns will focus on optimising staff’s time and improving human efficiency. Gen AI / LLMs can be used for more administrative tasks, such as identifying coding gaps, writing up a discharge summary, or suggesting the next best action. Patients will also be able to use chatbots and other AI interfaces to boost efficiency. The impact of these technologies is expected to make a difference in 2024, however, the fundamental patient-healthcare provider experience is not changing.” 

 “In 2024, expect AI to evolve from a catchy phrase to an emerging technology with real applications. It will allow patient-centred, data-centric care to reach all new levels - enabling accelerated diagnoses and treatment options, improved workflow efficiency and enhanced preventative care,” said Ryan Warren, Global Lead for Healthcare & Life Science in the Lenovo Workstations Group at Lenovo exclusively told Healthcare Digital.

“In addition to AI transforming healthcare, we also predict accelerated adoption of augmented and virtual reality offerings in mainstream clinical applications, medical training, and pre-surgery planning. This will not only make clinicians more efficient and productive, but will also improve access to care, treatments, and specialists for patients living in rural or underserved communities.” 

“Hospital systems, healthcare organisations, and patients, produce a massive amount of data. However, most of it is often inaccessible due to data silos. Data latency challenges and privacy concerns also contribute to this,” adds Andy Nieto, Senior Global Solutions Manager at Lenovo. 

“Advanced AI has the ability to transform healthcare by driving data together and allowing providers to have quicker time to insights and deliver more personalised care plans. In 2024, expect AI to evolve from a catchy phrase to an emerging technology with real applications. It will allow patient-centred, data-centric care to reach all new levels - enabling accelerated diagnoses and treatment options, improved workflow efficiency and enhanced preventative care.”

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