Are healthcare specialists prepared for intelligent technologies?

We are seeing healthcare specialists adopt intelligent technologies at an aggressive pace. But are they prepared for the societal impact?
15 June 2018

Are health organizations prepared for intelligent tech? Source: Shutterstock

The healthcare industry is adopting intelligent technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) at an aggressive rate to accelerate, delivering more personalized, efficient, and informed care.

However, innovation comes with responsibility.

It begs the question: how prepared are these organizations for the societal impact of such technologies and do they have the capabilities in place to ensure that intelligent technologies act with responsibility and transparency?

A new report named “Digital Health Technology Vision 2018” by Accenture gathered C-level responses from 100 health organizations, with aims of identifying the key issues and priorities for technology adoption and investment.

Accelerated adoption of intelligent tech

Findings from the report show just how fast health organizations seem to be adopting intelligent tech right now. The findings include:

  • More than three-fourths (77 percent) of the 100 health executives surveyed said they expect to invest in IoT and smart sensors this year. This was the highest among the 20 industries included in the broader “Accenture Technology Vision” research on which the health industry report was based.
  • More than half (53 percent) of the respondents said they expect to invest in AI systems.
  • Four-fifths (86 percent) of executives said that their organizations use data to drive automated decision-making at an unprecedented scale.

A lack of preparedness for intelligent tech

While there seems to be a fast-paced adoption of tech within health organizations, findings from the digital health report indicate that executives may not be quite prepared for them.

With AI continuing to play a greater role in decision-making, 81 percent of health executives reported not being prepared to face the societal and liability issues that will require them to explain their AI-based actions and decisions.

Following this, three-fourths (73 percent) reported plans to develop internal ethical standards for AI which will provide guidance to ensuring their AI systems act responsibly.

A problem with health organizations using AI in decision-making is the potential of biased and inaccurate data. This could leave organizations vulnerable to corrupted insights and skewed results.

The report found that 86 percent of health executives have not invested in capabilities to verify data sources across their most critical systems. This is perhaps a worrying finding considering that 24 percent of executives said they have been the target of adversarial AI behaviors such as falsified location data or bot fraud.

There is no doubt that intelligent technologies, such as IoT and AI, will enable health organizations to evolve at speed. However, as this technology evolves, organizations will need to ensure they demonstrate data stewardship and the designing of systems with trust and transparency.