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Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) Technologies Are Capturing the Imagination of Investors and Healthcare Organizations—and Are Poised to Expand Healthcare Frontiers

by Hannah Ehnle | March 05, 2020

New Chilmark Research report evaluates over 120 commercial AI/ML solutions in healthcare, explores future opportunities, and assess obstacles to adoption at scale

BOSTONMarch 5, 2020 — Interest and investment in healthcare AI/ML tools is booming with approxi­mately $4 billion in capital funding pouring into this healthcare sector in 2019. Such investment is spurring a vast array of AI/ML tools for providers, patients, and payers accelerating the possibilities for new solutions to improve diagnostic accuracy, improve feedback mechanisms, and reduce clinical and administrative errors.

Chilmark Research’s latest report, The Promise of AI & ML in Healthcare, is the most comprehensive report published on this rapidly evolving market with nearly 120 vendors profiled. The report explores opportunities, trends, and the rapidly evolving landscape for vendors, tracing the evolution from early AI/ML use in medical imaging to today’s rich array of vendor solutions in medical imaging, business operations, clinical decision support, research and drug development, patient-facing applications, and more. The report also reviews types and applications of AI/ML, explores the substantial challenges of health data collection and use, and considers issues of bias in algorithms, ethical and governance considerations, cybersecurity, and broader implications for business.

“Since medical imaging emerged as the first major success of AI/ML application in healthcare, the potential for AI/ML solutions in the field has progressed exponentially. The most advanced use of AI/ML today is in business operations, but clinical use solutions are well underway. The promise of AI/ML to transform and improve healthcare is tremendous—but major obstacles, particularly in data access, remain. The field is poised to make a major evolution in the next few years,” notes report author Dr. Jody Ranck, who expects that mainstream AI/ML use in healthcare is still five to seven years off. He notes that fulfilling the promise of AI use at scale will require significant social and business innovation and substantial effort to ready datasets for the market.

Health IT vendors, new start-up ventures, providers, payers, and pharma firms now offer (or are developing) a wide range of solutions for an equally wide range of industry challenges. Our extensive research for this report found that nearly 120 companies now offer AI-based healthcare solutions in four main catego­ries: hospital operations, clinical support, research and drug development, and patient/consumer engagement.

This report features an overview of these major areas of AI/ML use in healthcare. Solutions for hospital operations include tools for revenue cycle management, applications to detect fraud detection and ensure payment integrity, administrative and supply chain applications to improve hospital operations, and algorithms to boost patient safety. Population health management is an area ripe in AI/ML innovation, with predictive analytics solutions devoted to risk stratification, care management, and patient engagement. Significant development is underway in AI/ML solutions for clinical decision support, including NLP- and voice-enabled clinical documentation applications, sophisticated AI-based medical imaging and pathology tools, and electronic health records management tools to mitigate provider burnout. AI/ML-enabled tools are optimizing research and drug development by improving clinical trials and patient monitoring, modeling drug simulations, and enabling precision medicine advancement. A wealth of consumer-facing AI/ML applications, such as chatbots, wearables, and symptom checkers, are available and in development.

Provider organizations will find this report offers deep insight into current and forthcoming solutions that can help support business operations, population health management, and clinical decision support. Current and prospective vendors of AI/ML solutions and their investors will find this report’s overview of the current market valuable in mapping their own product strategy. Researchers and drug developers will benefit from the discussion of current AI/ML applications and future possibilities in precision medicine, clinical trials, drug discovery, and basic research. Providers and patient advocates will gain valuable insight into patient-facing tools currently available and in development. All stakeholders in healthcare technology—providers, payers, pharmaceutical stakeholders, consultants, investors, patient advocates, and government representatives—will benefit from a thorough overview of current offerings as well as thoughtful discussions of bias in data collection and underlying algorithms, cyber-security, governance, and ethical concerns.

This report is available to subscribers of the Chilmark Advisory Service or can be purchased separately. To read more and to download a preview, please visit the report sales page. Direct inquiries for purchase should be addressed to John Moore III at john3@chilmarkresearch.com.

Chilmark Research will also host a webinar discussing some of the report’s key findings in late March.

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