In a paper just published today, the World Economic Forum highlighted the revolutionary potential of artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare and the need for public-private collaboration in pushing its global adoption.
The purpose of the report titled “Scaling Smart Solutions with AI in Health: Unlocking Impact on High-Potential Use Cases,” which was prepared in partnership with the global management consulting and technology firm ZS, is to encourage public-private collaboration to speed up the implementation of AI in healthcare in a safe manner. The report proposes a global taxonomy for healthcare AI uses as a response to the systemic challenges straining health systems worldwide. It also demonstrates how global healthcare systems could unlock the full potential of these new technologies to transform patient care, reduce costs, and enable people to live healthier, longer lives.
“We are at a critical juncture in global health and healthcare,” said Shyam Bishen, Head of the Centre for Health and Healthcare and Member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum. “Mounting headwinds threaten collective wellness as well as employers, economies, budgets, and societal resilience,” he added. “To support a broader digital and data-driven transition to intelligent healthcare systems, which can meet the needs of populations and transform healthcare outcomes, access, and efficiency, advancements in artificial intelligence that are closely governed are critical.”
“The question of whether or not the technology is available for AI to alter healthcare is no longer relevant. Indeed, it does,” remarked Pratap Khedkar, Chief Executive Officer of ZS. The question that has to be answered is whether or not many stakeholders will be able to work together to create the conditions necessary for its widespread application and adoption. Artificial intelligence has the potential to profoundly revolutionize healthcare systems and enhance health outcomes for all individuals if it is widely accepted and used ethically.
The new report, which the Centre for Health and Healthcare directed at the World Economic Forum, is the product of an exhaustive study of more than 400 existing AI use cases as well as in-depth interviews with fifty global experts in the fields of technology, healthcare delivery, biopharma, government, academia, and other related fields.
The report demonstrates, among its other significant findings, how AI has the potential to diagnose a wide variety of diseases at scale, which could result in early interventions for individuals who are at a greater risk. AI also has the potential to combat infectious diseases through the use of AI-powered systems that can predict future outbreaks, map their spread, and deliver individualized mitigation strategies to reduce the impact of such outbreaks. The conduct of clinical trials can be improved by making it easier to pick the best sites, recruiting the most appropriate participants, and producing synthetic data that is more accurately representative of the population.
The analysis underlines the potential of AI in healthcare, but it also identifies frequent impediments to its adoption. While the paper emphasizes the potential of AI, it also identifies common barriers. There is a lack of data of sufficiently high quality, a lack of faith in AI solutions, and an inadequate technological infrastructure, to name a few of these obstacles.
It will be essential to have support from both the public and private sectors to build a solid data foundation, improve privacy laws, design AI algorithms responsibly and transparently, and make significant investments to implement these technologies on a large scale. This will be necessary to overcome these obstacles and guarantee that everyone has equal access to innovative technologies worldwide.