Will AI Replace the Human Workforce in Healthcare?

AI has already begun to revolutionize the healthcare sector. From this article, you will be able to understand the impact of AI on the human workforce.

In the near future, AI is expected to have a drastic impact on the labor market. It will automate many business processes, reducing the importance of the human factor. It doesn’t necessarily mean that people will start losing their jobs — but many professionals may need to get new qualifications to apply for other positions. In this article, we’ll analyze the potential impact of AI on the workforce in the healthcare sector.

Can AI Replace Human Workers?

Healthcare is predicted to be one of the sectors with the lowest overall potential for automation. No more than one-third of the time spent in this sphere can be automated. Depending on the type of occupation, this number may be even lower.

At the same time, the demand for many types of healthcare services is predicted to increase drastically. The World Health Organization states that the demand for healthcare staff might rise up to 40 million by 2030 on an international scale. There is a projected deficit of 9.9 million physicians, nurses, and midwives over the same period. By that time, automation tools will have freed up no more than one-tenth of nursing activities.

This sector already strives to cope with a workforce gap that’s only expected to widen. Patients will need more home health aides, licensed practitioners, and vocational nurses as well as other types of specialists who provide day-to-day services to patients. For a skilled professional, it shouldn’t be a problem to find a job in this sphere.

How Can AI Improve Healthcare Routines?

Today, administrative duties might take up to 70 percent of a medical professional’s time. Thanks to automation, these professionals will be able to focus on their immediate high-priority duties — that is, improving patient care. Both doctors and their clients believe that could be a breakthrough achievement for the sphere and are looking forward to it.

AI can facilitate access to statistics that can enhance the quality of medical services and lead to better patient outcomes. Thanks to AI, the speed and accuracy of diagnostics should increase the empowerment of patients through increased ability for self-care and enhancing the efficiency of remote monitoring.

How Can Healthcare Institutions Benefit from AI?

AI may also  change the essence of medical education. For centuries, the necessity to memorize facts was the staple of the training process. Now, the focus might shift to the following types of activities:

  • Multidisciplinary working
  • Life-long learning
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Innovation

The nature of patients’ consultations with physicians will change dramatically. Not only the doctors but also all frontline specialists will need to integrate AI into their workflow. This integration should incur tectonic changes in organizational culture and capabilities.

Which New Professions Might Appear in the Healthcare Sector Thanks to AI?

Many new roles are expected to emerge at the intersection of medical and data-science spheres — the following are just a few examples:

  • Organizations should form groups with expertise in implementing AI products that have been built or pioneered by other companies.
  • Data architects should be ready to record, store, and systematize clinical data to help algorithms generate better insights.
  • Designers specializing in human-machine interactions on clinical decision making should contribute to creating next-generation workflows that integrate AI.
  • Industry leaders should be shaping clinically meaningful and explainable AI,offering helpful data to back up decisions and enhance medical specialists’ understanding of their clients.
  • Product leadership experts should require clinical engagement to determine the contribution of AI-driven decision-support systems within broader clinical protocols.
  • Leaders in data governance and data ethics should develop policies to regulate the sphere.
  • Plus dozens of hybrid roles such as genomic counselors and experts in genomic medicine or clinical bioinformaticians.

At first glance, many of these spheres of activity have nothing to do with the conventional concept of healthcare. Orchestrating the introduction of all these new specializations should become a crucial skill in itself. The industry will need to develop flexible and exciting career paths and transparent routes to leadership roles.

How Should Health Systems Respond to the Increasing Role of AI?

Regional and national health systems should take the following actions to catalyze the introduction and scaleup of AI:

  1. Develop strategies to define medium- and longer-term goals and visions.
  2. Provide incentives and guidance for collaboration between healthcare institutions.
  3. Create frameworks for regulation with the ultimate goal of minimizing the risk to practitioners.
  4. Simplify data governance and data-sharing processes.
  5. Design lifelong-learning programs for ongoing professional development of healthcare specialists.
  6. Implement standards for digitization, data quality and access, security, and sharing.

And of course, they should use targeted funding for supporting the most socially significant projects and scaling of AI solutions.

Who Is Supposed to Pay for the Innovations?

The speed and specifics of AI solutions development might vary significantly depending on the country and region:

  • The United States has the highest venture capital funding in healthcare AI as well as the most completed AI-related healthcare research studies and trials.
  • The Asia region, particularly China, has the fastest growing sphere of healthcare AI.
  • Europe has accumulated extensive databases of health-related information and a substantial number of research studies. However, valuable data sets might be fragmented at the country level and not linked to each other.

Governments begin to invest intensively in AI-related research. American, German, Chinese, Israeli, British, and Finnish authorities have confirmed that they consider this sphere as one of their main priorities. As for the private sector, venture capital funding for the top 50 organizations in healthcare-related AI has reached $8.5 billion.

Final Thoughts

After reading this article, you can now better realize the potential impact of AI in healthcare on the human workforce. While automation tools might replace some specialists, the number of job offers for human professionals in this sphere is only likely to increase. AI will revolutionize many processes in the industry—from training and physician consultations to adopting innovation and  multidisciplinary working. The sooner countries and businesses realize the importance of this transformation, the quicker they should benefit from it.