What Trends Are Shaping AI In Healthcare This Year? 26 Experts Share Their Insights

  • 20 September 2019
  • Sam Mire

Don't you want to know where healthcare is trending, or which technologies are shaping the future of care, at least so you'll be prepared for your next trip to the doctor? If you want to stay in the know, these experts shined a light on the trends most shaping the use of artificial intelligence in healthcare. Here's what they said:

1. Antony Edwards, COO of Eggplant

“RPA is being used widely on the administrative side of healthcare with great effect. This is an area that needs all the help it can get and ‘doesn't have the same level of caution that diagnosis does. I think RPA will continue to be the big topic in healthcare tech for at least nine more months, and AI is a vital part of making RPA work.”

2. Laura Marble, VP, IT at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

“Precision Medicine and Radiology are two key areas in health care where AI is growing rapidly. By leveraging a combination of AI, Machine Learning and Deep Learning technologies, health care practitioners gain unprecedented insights into the prognosis of complex conditions, which allows them to apply highly prescriptive treatments that enhance patient outcomes. Additionally, diagnostic technology is constantly improving, with AI helping to improve patient outcomes by identifying diagnoses before humans can even catch them.”

3. Niven Narain, Co-Founder, President & CEO of BERG

“The use of Bayesian AI is having a significant impact on the healthcare industry. Instead of identifying patterns with machine learning, Bayesian AI is identifying causal relationships in data to streamline drug discovery and clinical medicine. That is moving data beyond a statistical relationship into something that is more actionable to pursue. This provides an informative impact on clinical trial design, compound selection, decision-making on combination therapies, as well as big data analytics.”

4. Randy Hamlin, Vice President and Segment Leader for Point-of-Care Ultrasound at Philips

Traditionally, there’s been a kind of back-office implementation of AI, but we’re starting to see a trend of it moving more towards assisted detection and diagnosis, including applied intelligence in clinical workflows. In other words, AI is widely implemented to improve elements of healthcare like revenue cycle management and the EHR, but now it is moving more towards processes that directly impact patient care.”

5. AJ Abdallat, CEO of Beyond Limits

“Smart population health management is a growing trend.

Only 5% of the US health system population accounts for more than 50% of costs, largely in hospitalization. Current systems for managing population health depend on manual processes – a sure prescription for inefficiency and excessive cost. AI systems must be able to assess longitudinal population health data or prospective risk factors so effective treatment options can be identified and promoted by PHM decision-makers. A cognitive system can also identify which patients are most likely to respond to care interventions. Symbolic AI from Beyond Limits, for example, can help PHM teams move from a ‘one size fits all’ for a given population to a more precise “one size fits one” approach. By optimizing care for individual patients and understanding risks, patterns, and trends for populations, outcomes can be improved while effectively managing costs.”

6. Allon Bloch, co-founder and CEO of K Health

Allon Bloch“This year, AI is being applied as the first entry point for consumers when it comes to managing healthcare. Before a person visits the doctor or searches the internet for their symptoms, they can access reliable healthcare insights from data-backed tools like K Health. We’re entering a new era of personalized healthcare solutions that are available anywhere, at any time.”

7. Nagi Prabhu, Chief Product Officer at Solutionreach

Without a doubt, it’s the emerging role of AI in patient relationship management (PRM). Every discussion I have with healthcare organizations inevitably finds its way back to AI and how it can best be leveraged to drive efficiencies while delivering the “wow” factor to patients. Efficiency and personalized experience can absolutely co-exist and can only be achieved with AI.”

8. Sean Lane, CEO of Olive

“The #1 trend shaping AI in healthcare this year is the rising cost of care. One out of every three dollars in healthcare today is earmarked for administrative costs, so there is an urgent need to streamline administrative employee workflows. Repetitive, manual data processes like insurance verifications, prior authorizations, and denial and rejection management are bogging down hospitals. For example, with Olive, hospitals’ workflows are monitored 24/7 to not only fix potential problems but to surface opportunities for added efficiency. These ongoing communications, analytics and insights are what solves hospital’s big challenges.”

9. Dr. Anuj Shah MD, founder of Apex Heart and Vascular Care

“The #1 trend shaping artificial intelligence in healthcare is the application of new medical imaging techniques and interpretations. As utilization of diagnostic imaging continues to increase, the costs associated with interpreting these images by humans is staggering. Artificial intelligence has the potential to increase speed, reduce costs, and minimize errors in this arena. Google’s DeepMind artificial intelligence program has recently shown promising results. After reviewing retinal scans, the algorithm was able to identify 50 different eye conditions with accuracy comparable to that of a physician. National organizations like The American College of Cardiology and The American Heart Association now recognize the role of AI in various diagnostic modalities and new fellows are being trained with keeping various AI algorithms in mind.”

10. Neal Liu, Co-Founder and CTO of uCare.ai

“Explainable / Interpretable AI. Trust is always top of mind when it comes to new technology. While black-box solutions can provide higher accuracy in comparison to white box solutions, black box solutions only provide the answers to questions, without any visibility on the internal processes for inspection. The lack of transparency makes many users uncomfortable.

To provide more visibility, UCARE.AI provides a solution that ranks variables and provides its weightage on their individual likelihood to cause an individual prediction. For a cost prediction, this could be useful for the admission staff to provide financial counseling on what components of a patient's procedure such as room size, that could help to reduce the cost.”

11. Dekel Gelbman, CEO of FDNA

“I would modestly say, taking a step back from over-promising and focusing on actionability of AI. I believe that the industry at large is not claiming to “diagnose all patients” or “cure all disease”, but rather focusing on incremental value of churning big data, augmenting human experts and ethical implication of productizing AI. These are all positive signs of growth and maturity in my opinion.”

12. Chris Bouton, founder & CEO of Vyasa Analytics

“Some of the key value of deep learning algorithms has to do with their ability to conduct image analytics in entirely novel and more powerful ways. Therefore I believe that one of the trends we’re seeing now is the application of deep learning algorithms to a wide range of healthcare-relevant image data.”

13. Sanket Shah, Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago's Masters of Science in Health Informatics and Health Information Management

“Population health. We are in a unique era where data and information is being sourced from a plethora of sources. The need to analyze these troves of data and unlock findings go beyond traditional analysis conducted by an individual or department of analysts. AI is helping us get there faster and providing options we’ve never seen before. It’s helping us better understand an individual, a community, and various patient cohorts to provide offerings that ultimately improve patient quality while lowering the costs of care. It starts with population health and the by-products of cost savings and improved experience will unlock new trends that will shape AI in the industry for years to come.”

14. Keith Figlioli, General Partner at LRVHealth

“We are seeing a lot of AI pointed at image analysis, diagnosis analysis, and other data elements that tie to predictive abilities on early diagnosis. There was news just last week that Google’s team is showing progress on alerting clinicians up to 48 hours before the onsite of acute kidney injury (AKI). I believe we will see more and more of this type of predictive alerting possible diagnosis capabilities in the headlines over the next 3 to 5 years.”

15. Russell Glass, CEO, Ginger

“The top trend that we’re seeing is an increase in AI technology being deployed in tandem with telemedicine/telemental health. With AI, clinicians can collect and analyze real-time data to predict disease risks, recognize early signs of illness, and provide quality care at scale. As 60% of U.S. counties have no access to mental health providers, using AI in tandem with telemedicine can significantly impact this access gap. There’s also a strong desire for access to telehealth services. A recent survey conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of Ginger, revealed that 66% of Americans would prefer to text immediately with a certified mental health coach who is trained to provide support when struggling with stress or life challenges.”

16. Patrick Gauthier, Director of Healthcare Solutions at Advocates for Human Potential

“As far as I can tell, coupling biometrics made possible by wearable devices with AI, facilitates the transmission of clinical alerts and treatment recommendations to both the patient and her/his provider.”


17. David Maman, CEO, CTO, & Co-founder of Binah.ai

“This year we’ve seen AI in healthcare moving from being in the evaluation stage to
regulatory approvals and execution. The market is gradually understanding the
immense positive  contribution and impact AI can have for global healthcare and
has started looking for ways to embrace it.”

18. Rana Gujral, CEO at Behavioral Signals

“Adoption. We're not at that level yet to talk about specific AI trends in healthcare. The trends are more horizontal. Resolving regulation issues, getting doctors to collaborate, finding great use cases, acquiring funding, convincing the medical world to adopt the new AI solutions.”

19. Emi Gal, co-founder and CEO of Ezra

“The #1 trend shaping AI in healthcare this year, to me, is all things cancer. Teams the world over are building AIs to help find the disease earlier, faster, and with more accuracy. This is filling a major need: the National Cancer Institute estimated that, in 2018, of the over 1.7 million individuals diagnosed with cancer, more than 600,000 passed away from the disease.”

20. Susan Wood, CEO of VIDA

“We think the #1 trend in 2019 will be the commercial availability of numerous AI marketplace platforms and infrastructures to harness AI algorithms directly into the radiology workflow.  Our LungPrint product will be available on several of these emerging platforms.”

21. Rajat Sharma, founder and CEO at Cover2Protect

“I believe the # 1 trend shaping AI in Healthcare is Patient-centered approach of personalization led by uptake in adoption of EMR and EHR not just by private players but also governments getting actively involved in the process of managing health data. Hence we are seeing a huge number of start-ups also creating wellness, healthcare solutions around providing personalized advice based on patient-centric data generated from various sources.

The democratization of access to electronic health records (EHR) and smartphone apps for at-home health solutions are changing the landscape of healthcare. From apps that assess your risk for skin cancer to new technology for accessing health records at home, patient-centric AIs are making it easier for people to receive high-quality care. The public is more willing than ever to participate in the healthcare cycle, and artificial intelligence is driving that trend forward.”

22. Jennifer Hill, Chief Operating Officer at Remedy Analytics

“Reduction of medical errors. Thousands of people unnecessarily die each year due to incorrect, untimely or mismanaged information. AI’s speed and ability to understand unstructured data is a boon to the efforts to ensure that human transcription and data-entered information are synched properly, accurately, and in a manner that enables practitioners to easily make decisions based upon it. Ultimately, the efforts will also lead to improvements and cost reduction in administration, which makes up one-third of healthcare costs.”

23. Maxim Ivanov, CEO and co-founder of Aimprosoft

I would say the number 1 trend is AI diagnostic capabilities. Healthcare is the best environment for AI to bring value. That’s because healthcare accumulates a huge amount of data in the form of images of X-rays, facial features, retina-scans, and speech that enables AI and ML for self-education. The more data you have, the better-educated AI you’ll get in the end with the more precise diagnostics. 

That urges patients to self-diagnose and catch the disease at an early stage. Everything is at the tip of a patient’s fingers now, and it is easier, you know, for a person with a hectic working schedule to get connected to a doctor on the spot in a blink of seconds instead of multi-visiting a healthcare institution.”

24. Shantanu Nigam, CEO of Jvion

Within our segment of the industry, more and more use cases are becoming conducive to applying AI. Historically, financial levers have not been aligned. What that means is that, for example, providers would not have a financial reason to spend effort to avoid a certain stay as each stay added up to additional revenue. The change driving this trend has been largely driven by evolving alternate payment methodologies. A report from William Blair cites traditional fee-for-service or other legacy payments not tied to quality went down from 62% in 2015 to 41%, while shared savings methodologies increased from 23% to 34% during the same window. Shared savings or value-based payment methodologies help align the financial levers for providers to anticipate and avoid harm on patients. That alignment makes for a perfect use case for the right AI. Patients have multiple clinical facets. And, the trend continues with more and more use cases aligning to value based, shared savings, bundle payments etc. This trend points to AI being better suited to anticipating and reducing avoidable patient harm across various clinical areas as opposed to AI providing many point solutions.”

25. Kevin Harris, CEO of CureMetrix

AI has arrived in healthcare and is quickly moving from the lab to clinical use. For this upward trajectory to continue, companies must demonstrate the validity of their products in a real-world setting.  It’s one thing to show that your product works during R&D, but another to demonstrate its efficacy “in the wild.” Anyone can demonstrate performance on a cultivated dataset, but AI technology – such as the CureMetrix breast cancer detection software – needs to work on any woman in the world who walks into the doctor’s office at 2 p.m. on a Tuesday to get a mammogram. 

I’m happy to say that the CureMetrix solution cmAssist® has demonstrated that efficacy translation from the lab to the clinic.  Both in investigational and commercial settings, in institutions around the world we have seen our sensitivity and specificity hold true with consistently low false positives per image.  We were able to achieve this by building a dataset of 2.5 million images from over twenty institutions to achieve an extremely broad sampling of patient demographics.”

26. Haza Newman, co-founder and CEO of Geras Solutions

“It is tough to say what the number #1 trend is currently, but I believe the most significant trends that are shaping AI in healthcare this year focuses around two premises that can easily be seen in Stockholm and abroad: The first is improving healthcare communication between the patient and the caregiver/specialist. The second is using AI in a patient-centred approach. I am very excited to see both of these approaches skyrocketing because the patients must understand what is occurring in regards to their health, how they can impact their health, and how they can seek or obtain assistance when needed. It is simply not enough to tell a patient what they could or could not do but to bring them into the process and empower them to maintain their health with support from those needed.”

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About Sam Mire

Sam is a Market Research Analyst at Disruptor Daily. He's a trained journalist with experience in the field of disruptive technology. He’s versed in the impact that blockchain technology is having on industries of today, from healthcare to cannabis. He’s written extensively on the individuals and companies shaping the future of tech, working directly with many of them to advance their vision. Sam is known for writing work that brings value to industry professionals and the generally curious – as well as an occasional smile to the face.