AI is transforming business processes but data quality and workforce challenges remain

As AI finds its way into common practice, majorities are using it to automate business processes – but not all have data ready to support it.

By Mike Miliard at Healthcare IT News

Link to Original Article

Artificial intelligence is starting to have a transformative impact on many industries, healthcare included, as it moves beyond the theoretical and into common practice.

“We are no longer on the brink of change resulting from AI — we are already immersed in a world with software-driven machines learning to process unstructured information in meaningful ways, something that until relatively recently was the domain of humans alone,” Infosys researchers wrote in a report released this week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

It’s clear that something that seemed sci-fi even five years ago is already changing the landscape in a real and profound way, the study “Leadership in the Age of AI,” suggested and include workforces alongside the technology. 

[Also: Artificial intelligence and machine learning took hold in healthcare during 2017]

The report polled more than 1,000 business and IT decision-makers, across nine industries and seven countries, about their AI-related purchases and plans.

What it found is that enterprises – healthcare organizations prominent among them, are preparing for fundamental shifts as AI transforms their operations and continues to be deployed more broadly. Industry-wide, nearly three-quarters of respondents (73 percent) said their AI deployments have already changed the way they do business and 90 percent of C-level execs say they’ve seen “measurable benefits from AI.”

Infosys researchers said 86 percent of organizations it surveyed have “middle- or late-stage” AI deployments. For healthcare specifically, 51 percent of respondents said their organizations are already experiencing disruption due to AI, and 72 percent reported AI to automate at least some business processes.

The report pointed to a big future for clinical uses too, where medical AI “can potentially detect and diagnose health-related problems in a matter of moments.”

Still, there are obstacles, with data management one of the biggest. Forty-nine percent of those polled said their organizations are still unable to deploy the AI applications they’d like to because their data isn’t yet ready to support it, so 77 percent said they’re investing in data management technology.

Workforce issues present another significant challenge: More than two-thirds of the C-suite execs polled said their employees are concerned the technology will replace them. Nearly half, however, said AI has helped augmented human skills to make employees better at their jobs and has freed up time for higher-value work.

But in healthcare specifically, on top of the data management challenges, 61 percent of organizations polled said they’re having difficulties finding qualified staff to lead integration of AI technologies.

Still, 71 percent of healthcare organizations “strongly or somewhat agreed” that their future business plans will be informed and transformed by the deployment AI tech.

“While it’s fair to say that, like most promising new technologies, there has been a tremendous amount of hype around AI, it turns out that the vast majority of enterprises with AI deployments are realizing clear and measurable results,” Infosys President Mohit Joshi said in a statement.

“AI is becoming core to business strategy, and is compelling business leaders to alter the way they hire, train and inspire teams, and the way they compete and foster innovation.”