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Health technology in 2024: Projections for AI, digital health, and more

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Leaders of health tech companies look ahead to the new year and offer their perspectives on what’s coming.

The healthcare industry hasn’t always been associated with embracing technology.

Image credit: ©ipopba - stock.adobe.com

Healthcare technology leaders say AI is going to play a bigger role in the health industry in 2024. (Image credit: ©ipopba - stock.adobe.com)

But as a new year begins, health systems, hospitals and providers are looking at digital tools in new ways, from improving patient care to managing their businesses more efficiently. Many organizations are turning to technology to reduce pressures on overworked staff. Some are also hoping technology can help address mounting cost pressures as many health systems continue to struggle financially.

Of course, many are looking at the potential of artificial intelligence to transform healthcare. Some healthcare leaders are also calling for strong guardrails to ensure AI is used safely.

As 2024 begins, healthcare technology leaders shared their projections for the coming year. Yes, many of the projections below center on AI. But healthcare leaders also offer thoughts on the digital health industry, using data more effectively, e-prescribing and other topics.

Leaders also offered suggestions on using technology wisely. Increasingly, analysts urge healthcare leaders to avoid simply going for the latest tool or gadget, and focus on implementing new technology as part of a sound strategy to serve patients better and operate more efficiently.

Jeff Richards, chief development and operation officer of SnapCare

“Every year in healthcare hope springs eternal that we will finally see true disruption and change that delivers both significant improvement in the quality of patient care and substantial cost containment. And yet, every year the industry falls short on that aspiration. 2024, as much as any year in the last 40 years, shows the promise to replace that aspiration with innovation. There is a burgeoning new intersection between industry innovators and healthcare GPOs that stands poised to make that disruption a reality.”

Theja Birur, founder and CTO, 4L Data Intelligence

“Advancements in AI are poised to be the driving force behind successful healthcare operations in the coming year. AI can streamline non-clinical processes including claims denial and prior authorization, areas where many hospitals still lack automation. AI's value extends to provider data management and physician credentialing, ushering in immediate efficiencies to offset workforce shortages and rising operating costs.”

Rebecca Mitchell, executive vice president of Vive Collective

“Even premiere tech companies poised to go public are at risk of substantially lower valuations in the public markets than their last private market fundraise. This will unfortunately continue to soften interest in IPO as a liquidity path, and keep public and private multiples on revenue low. With firms continuing to deal with write downs and difficulty raising their next fund, I do not expect new investment rates to perk up in 2024, except in very early rounds with reasonable valuations, and in mature companies with strategic roll up and restructuring opportunities.”

Brandi Meyers, vice president of revenue operations at MDClone

I'm seeing visionaries across the field focus on how we take all of this information we've collected for decades and drive meaningful insights from it. We are moving beyond the days of building a better mousetrap and into more thoughtful consideration of whether or not a mouse is really what we wanted to catch in the first place. I believe the industry is on the brink of huge change – more so than in the last two decades. We are in the early stages of a shift away from HOW to operate and more to WHY we do what we do, with renewed focus on health outcomes, the patient experience, and cost management at the population level, instead of just the department level.”

Peter Bonis, chief medical officer of Wolters Kluwer Health

“The adoption of artificial intelligence in the clinical setting will continue to evolve, particularly with generative AI for clinical decision support, as healthcare organizations begin piloting and evaluating these solutions for responsible and safe patient care applications. GenAI has the potential to help clinicians make decisions more accurately and efficiently at the point of care.”

“The capabilities of AI will far outpace the scaled-up adoption of AI applications, which are constrained by workflow, competing priorities and economic considerations driving uptake. We expect most of the uptake to be dominated by existing workflow applications such as EMRs and related services like documentation, although operational applications such as nurse scheduling, revenue cycle management, and prior authorization will also get an AI boost.”

David Lareau, CEO, Medicomp Systems

“As we move into 2024, the buzz around large language models (LLMs) and their role in healthcare will continue. While LLMs offer enormous potential, we must proceed with caution until robust guardrails are firmly in place to ensure clinical accuracy and patient safety. In the coming years, we will see major advances in techniques to refine LLM outputs, such as integrating clinical relevancy filters. This will pave the way for more reliable, transparent integration of these tools into clinical workflows down the line.”

Joseph Zabinski, managing director, AI & personalized medicine at OM1, Inc.

As we move into 2024, a key challenge to artificial intelligence (AI) adoption will be acceptance among patients, particularly as cases of AI 'getting it wrong' are widely publicized in the media. In 2023, AI became a familiar concept, but next year, the industry needs to take the next step of supplying clarity, transparency, repeatability, and answers around AI's strengths and weaknesses directly to patients. To do so successfully comes down to using AI when it makes sense - not always - and framing the added value AI can create.

"The gap between what AI can do in theory, and what it actually does in the real world will only be closed if we address barriers to access and acceptance among patients. In 2024, the industry needs to be specific about the value AI creates; efficient and seamless in its delivery for providers and patients; and resolute in the use of insights to help make decisions – only then will we see acceptance and the next step of adoption.”

Lathe Bigler, general manager, FDB Vela

With all the recent attention on drug prices and the role of pharmacy benefit managers, we will see a big consumer-focused shift in ePrescribing in 2024 toward greater price transparency. This shift is long overdue. Since ePrescribing emerged nearly two decades ago, insured consumers have largely been unaware of their out-of-pocket costs for their prescriptions before going to the pharmacy – as well as the wide price variation between pharmacies. That is leading to prescription abandonment and other nonadherent behaviors that could put patients’ health at risk. Putting drug cost estimates in consumers’ hands through their smartphones will become much more common and will eventually become an expected benefit from health plans in the coming years.”

Piotr Orzechowski, CEO of Infermedica

Regulatory bodies will intensify their efforts in 2024 to catch up with the rapid adoption of large language models in healthcare. This acceleration in regulatory frameworks will be driven by the need to mitigate safety risks associated with the widespread, uncontrolled use of these powerful AI tools, ensuring patient safety and data security.”

Ryne Natzke, chief revenue officer of TrustCommerce, a Sphere Company

Labor shortages and rising costs to hire front-line healthcare workers are likely to persist into the foreseeable future. To respond, providers will seek opportunities to boost the efficiency of existing staff members. By automating routine tasks, such as enabling patients to self-schedule appointments, providers can free staff members to spend more face-to-face time with patients, which increases job satisfaction and improves the patient experience.”

Michael Gao, CEO and co-founder of SmarterDx

“In the coming years, AI-driven advancements in clinical documentation and pre-bill chart reviews will revolutionize the healthcare revenue cycle. This shift will ensure a higher degree of accuracy and compliance in medical billing. Healthcare providers will finally be able to accurately represent all the care they delivered, with AI algorithms detecting and correcting coding and documentation errors before they impact the bottom line.”

Keith Neilson, CEO, Craneware Group

"Healthcare CEOs need to embrace technology as a strategic partner for future planning. Robust data analytics, artificial intelligence, and predictive tools can provide insights for developing long-term strategies that address payment models and ensure financial health. The focus should be on integrating these tools effectively into the organization's DNA.”

Patty Hayward, general manager of healthcare and life sciences at Talkdesk

On the provider side, we will continue to see the negative impact of worker shortages on the patient experience, operational efficiency, and employee satisfaction and productivity in the coming year, and not only in the clinical roles. I expect a renewed focus by providers on reducing administrative burdens for healthcare contact center agents through the deployment of AI and automation. These technologies will better enable a human-centered process that improves the patient experience while helping agents become more effective.”

Ashish V. Shah, CEO of Dina

“People are living longer and making healthcare choices that reflect their desire to receive care on their terms and age in place. We know our aging population has complex needs, requiring more post-acute and in-home care as well as other community-based support. At the same time, there are not enough nurses and other healthcare providers to care for the people who will need support and resources in the next five to 10 years. Faced with a stressed system, we expect that healthcare's next—and most crucial—innovation frontier will focus on optimizing the access, flow, transitions and use of our increasingly precious human resources.”

Kem Graham, vice president of sales at CliniComp

“As healthcare organization budgets remain constrained, we expect to see continued exploration of EHR offerings which provide a competitive ROI while also implementing seamless, elegant integration solutions. Services will be a significant consideration, as smaller IT shops will rely on the expertise and partnerships provided by their vendor of choice. We expect to see more affordable solutions gain traction in the space as smaller providers seek to sunset antiquated systems, integrate multiple data sources and present the data in real-time through intuitive user interfaces. The system-as-a-service model, while unique in the industry, has the opportunity to vastly open the arena for those entities who otherwise would be hesitant to commit to larger contracts with ambiguous service parameters.”

Kari Hall, chief strategy officer at PointClickCare

It is an exciting moment in time within the healthcare sector as we're witnessing the accelerating pace at which technology is both developed and adopted. Generative AI is no exception to this ongoing innovation, with new use cases emerging rapidly each day. In 2024, EHR data will play an even larger role in contextualizing care as adoption of AI rapidly increases across the continuum. Namely, EHR data will provide an additional layer of context for providers leveraging AI, aiding in the reduction of rehospitalization rates and accelerating the transition to value-based care. As providers start to realize that generative AI enhanced by EHR data drives improved care outcomes, they will have the relevant insights and tools necessary to take on risks, improving both clinical and financial outcomes.

Colin Banas, chief medical officer, DrFirst

“To consolidate and advance improvements in outcomes and profitability, healthcare leaders should look where they can amplify what is already working well or is proving its promise. In the case of AI adoption, it’s especially important to get it right and focus on AI that has built-in safeguards and multiplies the effectiveness of clinicians and staff; not all AI does either. With the ONC issuing its final HTI-1 rule for data sharing and development standards for EHRs, the importance of both elements is critical because the massive burden of regulation will severely limit the industry’s ability to invest in efficiency, as it focuses instead on tech projects required to meet the new rules. AI has the potential to provide the shortest path to gain IF it’s for real.”

Lou LaRocca, CEO, J2 Interactive

"CEOs need to adopt a tech-forward mindset, fostering an environment of continuous innovation. To thrive in 2024, leaders should leverage technology not just as a tool but as a core strategy for achieving their vision. It's about adopting and integrating the right solutions that drive operational excellence, enhance the patient experience, and keep organizations ahead of the curve."


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