While layoffs in the technology sector haunted 2022, the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) and all things digital in healthcare continue to gain traction in the quest to improve patient care and reduce healthcare costs. In fact, AI and ML in healthcare are expected to surpass $20 billion in 2023 due to increasing adoption at record pace. Its application spans from drug discovery/development, a competitive race comprised of both the pharmaceutical and technology industries, to actual clinical use as evidenced in algorithms now used in identifying and better managing disease and in particular, neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s.
According to CB Insights, digital health, health technology and telehealth had some of the highest funding in the space in 2022. That’s a good sign for both investors and patients in the coming years. For investors, it can be a simple story. For patients, it can be confusing. The common denominator – and where the role of communications is so critical – is telling a story that is elegant in its simplicity.
In telehealth, the story is one of meteoric rise in 2020-2021 with substantial funding and an equally dramatic fall in 2022 in funding and consumer utilization. But telehealth gradually found a more realistic footing over the course of 2022, becoming a staple in a number of areas and is here to stay with increasing utilization of home-based remote care, remote surgery and virtual hospital wards. The prevalence of chronic disease in an aging population has only grown, reflecting the need for better patient data reports and analytics from EHRs and a demand for personalized medicine.
Precision medicine benefits from AI in numerous ways. For example, digital pathology has changed how cancer tissue – unseen by the naked eye –can be identified. AI can help predict what treatment a specific patient may need, as well as predict what drug will be most effective or have adverse side effects for a particular individual. In addition, AI in diagnostics can help mitigate risk management at hospitals and providers. However, billing codes and encouraging use remain a challenge.
While AI and ML continue to integrate across the healthcare ecosystem, the result is potentially earlier diagnosis, improved care and ultimately, better outcomes. Clinical trial recruitment can also benefit from these systems as patients and advocates become more integrally involved and drive the intricate process of identifying and recruiting patient candidates who can help accelerate drug development.
As we shed the pallor that was 2022 and look forward to 2023, we see a resilient, bright future for the convergence of health and technology, and the solutions they provide to the entire healthcare universe as well as the patient in your house. The key will be to tell a strong story that can resonate with all audiences.
For more trends in healthcare for 2023, visit the ICR Westwicke blog.