As the figure below shows, there is an increasing imbalance between health workforce and demand for clinical services. This imbalance is due to a number of factors such as aging workforce within healthcare; competition from other sectors of the economy; aging population with higher healthcare needs; high burnout rates amongst clinical workers and more. This imbalance can present a significant challenge to the ability of the healthcare system to meet the increasing needs of an aging population. AI is uniquely positioned to help with this imbalance in the coming years and decades.
AI can assist in a diverse array of areas in healthcare and help provide intelligent automation. This can not only reduce the need for human hours in providing care but also reduce the amount of mistakes that are a cause of lower quality of care and worse patient outcomes.
The pandemic has been an accelerator of valuable resources leaving the healthcare system. Burnout is one of the key drivers of the clinician shortage. By assisting doctors and nurses with tasks that can be automated such as administration and documentation, collection of data, and more, burned out doctors and nurses can get more time and do less routine tasks such as typing, ordering, checking numbers, and more. It is well-documented that the high rate of physician burnout leads to medical errors. It also allows for spending more time with patients and research rather than on routine tasks.
Creating more time leads to happiness for people and doctors.. AI can create time for doctors, if the automation does not lead to additional pressure on the doctors to see more patients and be more productive as opposed to spending more time with their patients. It is estimated that AI can free up 25% of clinician time across the different specialties
Increased time will need to mean less hurried encounters and more humane interactions, including more empathy from the happier doctors, empathy has been shown to improve outcomes by improving patient adherence to the prescribed treatments, increased motivation, and reduced anxiety and stress.