BRG’s AI and the Future of Healthcare Report

While healthcare organizations are racing to adopt artificial intelligence, fewer than half have reviewed regulatory guidance in preparing to implement the technology

Amid the promise of higher valuations, lower costs and reduced burnout, three in four healthcare professionals surveyed believe artificial intelligence (AI)-related technologies will be widespread within the next three years—with projected timelines diverging between healthcare provider and pharmaceutical respondents—according to BRG’s AI and the Future of Healthcare report, released today.

Drawing on insights from a comprehensive survey that involved more than 150 healthcare provider and pharmaceutical professionals, as well as in-depth interviews with BRG industry experts, the report assesses healthcare leaders’ perceptions of the AI landscape, timelines for adoption and significant AI-related challenges and opportunities. By highlighting novel applications of AI-driven technologies at leading healthcare organizations, the report provides an incisive, timely analysis of the rapidly evolving state of machine learning and generative, predictive and multimodal AI.

The report finds that more than 4 in 10 healthcare provider respondents say AI has already been widely accepted and effectively implemented, likely a reflection of AI’s myriad applications across a range of functions that carry limited risk of negative patient outcomes. However, only 20% of pharmaceutical professionals surveyed report that AI adoption is already happening within their industry.

“The excitement around AI in healthcare is real, but it’s important that hospital and health system leaders avoid getting caught up in the hype and strategically target specific needs they want to address,” said Paul Osborne, a BRG managing director. “We’re already seeing AI used to improve front-office tasks like appointment scheduling and check-in, as well as to address administrative burdens for clinicians and staff. By implementing AI thoughtfully, organizations can enhance patient experience, empower their staff and modernize workflows.”

Though the report outlines near-term and current levels of AI adoption, healthcare organizations have taken limited steps to prepare for AI-related regulatory shifts. Despite this, 75% of healthcare provider respondents and 56% of pharmaceutical professionals remain confident that future regulation and guidance will provide the necessary guardrails for proper implementation and use. Views differ on the current state of AI regulation, with provider respondents more confident in today’s regulatory landscape.

“The commercial side of the pharmaceutical industry is ripe for a push toward more effective AI use in marketing, pricing strategy and contract decisions, which have substantial upside and limited risk,” said Clay Willis, a BRG director. “But today’s uncertain regulatory landscape has led to slower AI implementation in other key areas like drug development and clinical trials.”

Other key takeaways include:

  • Over half of professionals from healthcare organizations—both providers and pharmaceutical companies—say that accuracy, data privacy and data integrity are chief concerns in implementing AI. These come on the heels of new regulatory guidance from government agencies regarding AI and privacy and the arrival of industry guidelines on AI compliance and ethical use.
  • Only 4 in 10 overall respondents indicate their organizations are reviewing or planning to review AI regulatory guidance. Despite this, a majority remain confident about regulators’ abilities to develop adequate safeguards. This report explores what can be done to prepare for regulatory shifts and underscores the need to strike an appropriate balance that will not compromise either patient safety and privacy or innovation.
  • Investors spent $31.5 billion on healthcare AI-related technology between 2019 and 2022, and these technologies are expected to fuel more investments and influence valuations and market value for healthcare organizations moving forward. Recent research finds that wider adoption of AI could lead to savings of 5% to 10% in U.S. healthcare spending—roughly $200 billion to $360 billion annually in 2019 dollars.

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