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New Practice

Can Artificial Intelligence Transform Primary Care?

It seems like everyone (and their mother) is taking a stance on the rapid acceleration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools. The global AI market size was roughly $119.78 billion last year, and is expected to reach over $1,500 billion by 2030. AI has been around in various forms since the 1950s, but the more recent proliferation of data combined with other technological innovations has led to AI’s exponential growth. Now, AI is being used by individuals and businesses alike as both excitement and concern grow over what the future holds for society as we know it.

    AI has been regarded as a source of innovation for businesses. On an organizational level, AI has the ability to multiply value through optimizing processes, scalability, and consistency, all while cutting down on business expenses. Research and studies confirm that 84% of C-suite executives believe they need to utilize AI in order to achieve their growth objectives, and 75% believe that their company risks going under without scaling their AI tools in the next 5 years. Whether we like it or not, healthcare remains the largest employer in the United States, and is riddled with inefficiencies, inequities, and skyrocketing costs. Could leveraging AI in healthcare be a part of the solution?

In terms of AI’s ability to minimize inefficiencies and save time, there is no greater return on investment for our healthcare system than applying these innovations to the primary care industry. Primary care is a proven solution to improving the perils in our healthcare system, but without adequate structures to support Primary Care Physicians (PCPs) in the United States, they face incredibly high rates of burnout and administrative burden. While companies like Elation and our partners remain committed to transforming high-value primary care in this country, advancements in AI show great promise to increase the efficacy of existing efforts.

According to a research article published by the NIH about how AI will transform primary care, “Primary care is where the power, opportunity, and future of AI are most likely to be realized in the broadest and most ambitious scale”. With PCPs spending an average of 24% of their time on administrative duties, AI tools such as Nabla, that records visit summaries as a report into the EHR, and Regard, which uses EHR data for diagnostics and drafting clinical notes, show great promise for reducing burnout. In fact, AI is already being used in healthcare to strengthen patient diagnostics, personalize treatment, and monitor patients who belong to vulnerable populations. 

Although AI is already being used in healthcare, the potential applications of AI in primary care are especially exciting. According to an article in Medical Economics, AI is well-positioned to assist independent practices with other common sources of administrative burden such as eligibility checks, prior authorizations, insurance claims, and referrals. According to the author, the “immediate benefit of the digital transformation to primary care doctors in their practices, however, is the technology’s ability to boost patient engagement and adherence.” The  influx of AI in the primary care setting even holds the potential to improve the foundational doctor-patient relationship— and wouldn’t that be an incredible application of technology.