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Digitized Healthcare: Examining Trends in U.S. Hospital Management

Management teams of private hospitals, clinics, and dental clinics in the US often grapple with such issues as providing adequate care to patients and improving their bottom line.
Additionally, they may also struggle to provide more intensive support to patients and increase home-care visits due to staff shortages. The healthcare professionals themselves may feel that they have too much work to do and not enough time to support patients
How can AI solve these problems? In this article, we will discuss five of the latest trends in U.S. digital healthcare and how AI can be used to help hospital management.

Communication Business Avenue has been helping some of the world’s largest companies to integrate call center systems and digital communication tools for the past 16 years.

Table of Contents

5 Global Trends in Digital Healthcare

The COVID-19 vaccine became available at the end of 2020. The healthcare industry continues to be influenced by COVID-19.
Here we will focus on the field of digital healthcare and explain what the trends are in the U.S.

Savings from AI Adoption

According to an Accenture study, AI systems in healthcare are expected to “save” $150 billion annually in the U.S. alone by 2026. So within the next five years, the need for AI in the global healthcare industry will increase, and the AI industry will be worth more than $34 billion.

Advances in AI systems as they relate to healthcare have been remarkable. For example, AI is being used in the COVID-19 initiative. Scientists are working to develop algorithms that can diagnose disease in asymptomatic patients simply by recording the sound of a cough.
AI is also being used for robot-assisted surgery, virtual nurses, workflow support for administrators, fraud detection, and reduction of medication errors. Interactive AI is also being introduced into the mental health care field.

✅ Investments in AI will continue to accelerate as it reduces the workload of healthcare professionals, improves the accuracy of their work, and helps patients care for themselves.

Chatbots for Healthcare Organizations Increasingly Deployed

Many healthcare organizations in the U.S. implemented chatbots during the lockdown; the CDC’s website, which provides information on COVID-19, has implemented a chatbot from Microsoft Healthcare that allows users to ask about the symptoms they are suffering symptoms they are suffering from.

In healthcare, however, chatbots do not always meet the needs of patients. People need attention, care, and empathy from others. Chatbots, which are text-only interactions, are limited in their ability to provide human interaction.

A poll by UneeQ found that 42% of companies want to give chatbots a human touch. Chatbots that utilize AI avatars like digital humans will be adopted in the future.

Healthcare Worker Burnout Comes Under Close Look

Pandemics have led to a worldwide surge in burnout among healthcare workers. Burnout is not just overwork; it is overwork that cannot be eliminated even by taking long breaks.

⚠️ According to Mentemia, a company that studies burnout, “Burnout is not a temporary illness that goes away quickly; it resembles a chronic illness.

A 2020 survey reported that 43% of U.S. physicians and 54% of anesthesiologists suffer from burnout; in a 2013 survey, 26% of physicians said they were burned out, indicating a sharp increase after the pandemic.
❗Hospital management must urgently address medical worker burnout
This is because physicians who experience burnout quit their jobs.
In a 2013 survey, 28% said they intended to quit their jobs within two years as a result of burnout. Two years after that, about half of them (13%) actually retired.
The U.S. healthcare industry needs 11.6 million clinicians by 2026 to keep up with patient demand. Continued physician retirements will take up significant cost and time to recruit.

AI is beginning to be used to address burnout among healthcare professionals. AI assistants, AI chatbots, and interactive AI digital humans that advise patients on diet and explain the efficacy of medications are attracting attention.

One technology that has exploded in popularity since the beginning of the pandemic is videoconferencing. The same is true in the healthcare industry. In the first quarter of 2020, there was a 50% increase in the number of people using videoconferencing systems to practice online compared to the previous year. This trend will continue in the future.
Approximately 16.5 million U.S. citizens used online medical services for the first time during the pandemic. This includes not only low-risk patients, but also 69% of those with chronic or complex chronic conditions.
However, 88% said they would use the service again. What is it about online medical care that makes it so popular? Of those who have actually used online medical care, 94% commented that they were satisfied with the convenience and ease of online medical care.
Patients are not the only ones who appreciate online medical care. Doctors like the system as well, with three out of four doctors saying they would expand their online practice if the situation warranted it.

Increased Focus on Mental Health Tech

It is becoming increasingly clear that lockdown, social distance, and remote work can have a negative impact on mental health. As a result, many companies are beginning to focus on mental health care for their employees.
Of the companies that have consulting contracts with PwC, 62% offered new health benefits to their employees in 2020, and 8% offered benefits for mental health and stress care.
AI-based mental health tech is also gaining attention. For example, AI-based health apps are popular. Apps that record diet, steps, weight, sleep, etc., and have AI suggestions for improvements are rapidly gaining popularity.
In addition, interactive AI digital humans are beginning to be used. This point is discussed in more detail in the next section.

Potential of Interactive AI in Mental Health

One of the causes of adverse effects on mental health is loneliness. Loneliness is felt not only by teleworkers, but also by the elderly.
In the United States, approximately 28% of the elderly live alone. They receive a home visit or phone call from a caregiver about once a week, but they still feel lonely.
It would be nice if medical institutions could increase contact with patients to alleviate their loneliness, but due to a shortage of human resources, they are not able to provide the kind of care they would like. This is where interactive AI is attracting attention.
Currently, interactive AI technology is advancing, and as demonstrated by Siri and Alexa, it is capable of natural conversation to some extent. More and more interactive AI such as digital humans are being used as “therapists”.
Let’s take a look at the benefits of implementing interactive AI in mental health care.

Advantages of Interactive AI Therapists 1. Accessibility

The advantage of using interactive AI to combat loneliness is their accessibility, which means they can be used whenever they are needed.
For example, friends, family members, or caregivers are not always immediately available to talk to a person in the middle of the night when they feel lonely. An interactive AI, however, can respond immediately. Moreover, digital humans can show human-like facial expressions, making it easier for the elderly, who are not comfortable with technology, to talk to them.

Increased Focus on Mental Health Tech

It is becoming increasingly clear that lockdown, social distance, and remote work can have a negative impact on mental health. As a result, many companies are beginning to focus on mental health care for their employees.

Of the companies that have consulting contracts with PwC, 62% offered new health benefits to their employees in 2020, and 8% offered benefits for mental health and stress care.
AI-based mental health tech is also gaining attention. For example, AI-based health apps are popular. Apps that record diet, steps, weight, sleep, etc., and have AI suggestions for improvements are rapidly gaining popularity
In addition, interactive AI digital humans are beginning to be used. This point is discussed in more detail in the next section.

Potential of Interactive AI in Mental Health

One of the causes of adverse effects on mental health is loneliness. Loneliness is felt not only by teleworkers, but also by the elderly.
In the United States, approximately 28% of the elderly live alone. They receive a home visit or phone call from a caregiver about once a week, but they still feel lonely.
It would be nice if medical institutions could increase contact with patients to alleviate their loneliness, but due to a shortage of human resources, they are not able to provide the kind of care they would like. This is where interactive AI is attracting attention.
Currently, interactive AI technology is advancing, and as demonstrated by Siri and Alexa, it is capable of natural conversation to some extent. More and more interactive AI such as digital humans are being used as “therapists”.
Let’s take a look at the benefits of implementing interactive AI in mental health care.

Advantages of Interactive AI Therapists 1. Accessibility

The advantage of using interactive AI digital humans to combat loneliness is their accessibility, which means they can be used whenever they are needed.
For example, friends, family members, or caregivers are not always immediately available to talk to a person in the middle of the night when they feel lonely. An interactive AI, however, can respond immediately. Moreover, digital humans can show human-like facial expressions, making it easier for the elderly, who are not comfortable with technology, to talk to them.
The fact that digital humans are available in over 70 languages also contributes to their accessibility: according to the CDC, immigrants tend to feel alone. With interactive AI digital humans, there is no language barrier, so they can easily talk to each other.

Advantages of Interactive AI Therapists 2. Trust

It may seem surprising, but there are cases where it is easier to build trust with an AI therapist than with a human therapist. That is the case of loneliness for reasons that you do not want a third party to know.

A University of Southern California (USC) study found that soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were much more likely to confide their symptoms to a virtual therapist. Veterans in the study felt psychologically safe with “Ellie,” their virtual therapist, and engaged in many conversations. As a result, a number of signs of PTSD could be detected.

✅ Research has proven that people who receive AI-based therapy have a strong sense that digital humans do not judge them and are on their side.

Advantages of Interactive AI Therapists 3. Versatility

Another advantage is the versatility of interactive AI. Interactive AI, such as digital humans, can be used in mental health care for the following applications.
  • Chatting with users
  • Solicitation to events
  • Medical advice
  • Can be utilized to simply talk with users. Can be used to solicit users to attend community or facility events.
  • Interactive AI can also be useful for giving medical advice on diet, exercise, medication, sleep, etc.

Final thoughts

Hospital management teams are thinking about how to balance robust management and generous care for patients.
By utilizing AI, a limited number of medical personnel can be allocated to patients who need more care. Since operations are streamlined, a system can be created to provide both daily chores and patient support without having to spend money to secure human resources.

In addition to AI, CBA Inc. offers Web RTC systems that can be used for online medical care, MR mixed reality systems, and services that can manage inquiries using AI. Please feel free to contact us for more information.

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