In what feels like no time at all, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has catapulted from the realms of science fiction into a staple into a powerful set of capabilities available to the business community.
From Generative AI tools to personalized medicine, the possibilities for incorporating AI into operations are endless.
For the experts at Stratford Group, the possible uses for AI in healthcare are promising. “It’s still really in its infancy,” says Rana Chreyh, practice leader of management consulting at Stratford. Having spent over two decades in the medical device and healthcare industry, she is excited about the potential.
“One of the important drivers is that healthcare is challenged with efficiency issues, aging populations, and capacity constraints. To overcome those challenges, new technologies will be an important part of the equation to sustainable healthcare delivery.” Chreyh continues, “AI strategy is not just implementing new technology for the sake of technology; it’s a necessary evolution to address these global challenges.”
So, what might strategic planning around the adoption and implementation of AI look like and why is the path to integration particularly nuanced for healthcare organizations?
The strategic imperative of AI in healthcare
When it comes to unique barriers, healthcare is heavily regulated, with the need to address concerns relating to patient safety, efficacy on new technology, privacy, ethics, and patient trust. These issues underscore the critical need for a thoughtful strategy, one that Chreyh has experience with crafting.
AI presents an unparalleled opportunity for healthcare organizations to enhance efficiency, personalize patient care, and innovate services. Shelagh Maloney, a senior consultant at Stratford with a wealth of experience in digital health, emphasizes the universal impact of AI, saying “it’s new to everyone and while we need to be thoughtful about how we use it, the clear message is that AI is not going anywhere. By taking a strategic approach to the use of implementation of AI, it ensures we can address concerns while also leveraging its abundance of potential.”
Chreyh emphasizes the importance of focusing on a strategy that delivers specific value, making sure the organization is addressing the correct problem, that the solution is helpful, and that it works.
AI is coming on the heels of digital transformation, digitization, and automation, and it needs to be implemented in a way that supports healthcare delivery and is not seen as making healthcare workers’ jobs even harder. Solutions need to deliver benefits to both patients and healthcare providers.
Building a foundation for AI integration
For healthcare organizations looking to harness AI’s potential, a pragmatic approach is necessary. The foundation must be set with a clear strategy that is focused by the intended value and benefits. Benefits that can range from patient engagement to inventory management to decision support and diagnostics.
The possibilities are endless.
According to Chreyh, the best way to start leveraging AI in a way that delivers value is to focus and invest in one specific domain as opposed to dispersing attention across all the potential ways AI can be utilized. For Chreyh, operational and clinical domains are where she sees AI making a significant impact.
Maloney adds, “It’s also about educating around AI in general and really understanding the broad implications of it…making sure that the organization is comfortable with it and not be intimidated by it.” For Maloney, this cultural readiness is critical for successful AI implementation.
Stratford Group: Your partner in AI strategy and implementation
As healthcare leaders contemplate AI’s integration, the question of ‘how’ becomes paramount. This is where Rana and her team come in.
Stratford excels in strategy development and ensuring effective implementation. “A lot of organizations start with a great strategy, but the implementation is where it falters,” Chreyh observes, highlighting the necessity of focusing on realizing the intended outcome and benefits.
When it comes to investing in an AI strategy, the extraction of value relies on the ability to implement effectively.
The call to action is clear: the future of healthcare, enhanced by AI, is not just a possibility but an impending reality. A reality that requires strategy and calls for due diligence and careful implementation. For those ready to explore the potential of AI within their healthcare operations, Stratford Group offers the expertise to help you start your journey and achieve outcomes.