Artificial intelligence in healthcare is expected to play a significant role in bringing a $15.7 trillion boost to the global economy.
Advances in artificial intelligence within the healthcare industry will contribute significantly to the $15.7 trillion economic boost related to machine learning, according to a new report from PwC.
The firm anticipates a 14.5 percent increase in North America’s GDP by 2030, driven largely by AI’s ability to reduce waste, and support better decision-making.
Gains in productivity are expected to contribute $6.6 trillion to the overall total.
“From the personal assistants in our mobile phones, to the profiling, customization, and cyber protection that lie behind more and more of our commercial interactions, AI touches almost every aspect of our lives. And it’s only just getting started,” the report said.
“AI is set to be the key source of transformation, disruption and competitive advantage in today’s fast changing economy.”
The healthcare industry topped PwC’s list of industries ripe for significant disruption, sharing the number one spot with the automotive sector.
Every part of healthcare is lining up for change: providers, pharma and life sciences, payers, and consumers should all prepare for deeper integration of artificial intelligence into their processes and experiences.
“AI-powered diagnostics use the patient’s unique history as a baseline against which small deviations flag a possible health condition in need of further investigation and treatment,” the report explains.
“AI is initially likely to be adopted as an aid, rather than replacement, for human physicians. It will augment physicians’ diagnoses, but in the process also provide valuable insights for the AI to learn continuously and improve.”
Despite the huge potential, however, healthcare is likely to see slower adoption than many other industries.
Sectors such as retail, logistics, and financial services may have more immediately obvious opportunities for automation, and are more likely than healthcare to see widespread adoption within the next one to three years.
While 54 percent of retail organizations are expected to reach AI maturity by 2022, just 37 percent of healthcare entities are likely to do the same.
The financial services sector is anticipated to be fully AI-driven within the next seven years, but 40 percent of healthcare stakeholders will still need to work on infusing artificial intelligence into their operations during that time period.
Healthcare faces different challenges than these other industries, including strict privacy and security regulations and a deeply-rooted legacy technology environment, both of which make it difficult for organizations to apply machine learning techniques to their data assets.
In addition, healthcare organizations tend to face pushback from employees when introducing changes to workflows, especially when those changes raise the fear of job loss or alterations to the patient-provider relationship.