AI dominating focus of health system leaders with rise of generative AI and other tools


Annual Top of Mind survey from CCM again finds excitement building around use of artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is dominating the thoughts of many executives at health systems as leaders explore ways to improve operational, financial and workforce productivity challenges that are pressuring their organizations.

The seventh annual Top of Mind for Top Health Systems survey from the Center for Connected Medicine (CCM) found that 80% of health system executives identify AI as the most exciting emerging technology for health care. This is the fourth year in a row that AI was picked as the most exciting emerging technology in the CCM’s Top of Mind survey.

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AI also was most cited as the technology showing the greatest progress in health care, replacing telehealth, which had led the category for the previous three years in the Top of Mind survey.

Interest in AI accelerating with focus on ChatGPT and other new AI tools

The findings come on the heels of the explosive growth and attention on AI this year that accompanied the release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT and other generative AI products. While health systems have tended to be deliberate about the implementation of new technology, the Top of Mind survey findings suggest that health care leaders are growing more comfortable with the promise of AI.

“UPMC is focused on innovative solutions that drive improvement in every facet of health care. Through our work at UPMC Enterprises, we’ve helped to develop companies and technologies that harness the power of AI to tackle health care’s biggest problems, including physician burnout or finding new cancer treatment targets. It’s not surprising that AI continues to intrigue health care leaders across the country,” said Brenton Burns, executive vice president of UPMC Enterprises, the innovation and commercialization arm of leading health system UPMC, a founding partner of the CCM.

Health system executives also focused on improving patient care with technology

In addition to growing interest in AI, the Top of Mind survey also found that health system executives see an important role for technology in improving patient care. When asked what problem in health care can best be solved with technology, the top response was patient care — a broad category that includes solutions such as remote patient monitoring for proactive care and clinical decision support tools to guide physicians in effectively treating high-risk patients.

Patient care surpassed patient access, which had been previously cited for two consecutive years as the leading problem to solve with technology in the Top of Mind survey. While access remains a significant challenge for many health systems, the finding suggests that the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency may have shifted executives’ focus.

Produced in partnership with KLAS research, the Top of Mind survey collected responses from 80 representatives from 69 U.S. hospitals and health systems in May 2023. More than three-quarters of respondents were C-Suite and other senior executives, primarily in information technology, operational, and administrative roles.

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