CONTRIBUTOR

The convergence of AI, generative AI and IoT is ushering in a new era in health care, promising improved care delivery models, seamless workflows for payors and vendors and enhanced health care experiences in 2024.

An outlook from AdvancedMD predicts generative AI (GenAI), robotic processes automation (RPA) and internet of things (IoT) technologies will further enhance patient experiences and optimize clinical and administrative workflows.

Both AI and GenAI are expected to have advance patient engagement and electronic health record (EHR) functionality, benefiting both small private practices and larger ambulatory care providers.

Within EHR, RPA technology is expected to help streamline administrative processes, reducing time and errors. Meanwhile, patient engagement tools will become more intuitive, empowering patients and improving satisfaction.

Tim Costantino, AdvancedMD vice president and head of product, says because of these cutting edge technologies, health care providers can automate much of their patient engagement tactics, from appointment reminders and digital intake form requests to bill payment notifications and self-scheduling capabilities.

“These same technologies are also vastly improving EHR platforms for ambulatory care and small private practices, elevating interoperability levels and streamlining various admin responsibilities, saving massive amounts of time and reducing errors for everything from claim submission processes to revenue cycle management strategies,” he says.

The health care sector will also witness increased collaboration between payors and technology vendors, resulting in more transparent workflows and an enhanced patient experience.

The company predicted telehealth services would also continue to expand, driven by affordability, increasingly complex and rich features and initiatives promoting equitable health care.

Meanwhile, the integration of IoT into health care technology platforms will boost interoperability, improving patient outcomes and payment processes.

Dr. Harvey Castro, a physician and health care consultant, says for smaller health care providers, the integration of AI and machine learning with EHR systems presents both opportunities and challenges.

“While these technologies can significantly enhance patient care and operational efficiency, smaller practices often lack the IT infrastructure to implement them,” he explains.

This creates a dependency on large EMR vendors who offer AI integration, potentially making it costly for clinics not using popular EMRs.

“Moreover, smaller AI startups face difficulties in bridging their products with these EMRs, further complicating the technology adoption for small clinics,” he adds.

He explains the use of AI in patient engagement, such as scheduling, empowers patients by giving them more control over their health care.

For instance, AI bots can assist in rescheduling missed appointments promptly, which can positively impact patient health outcomes.

“This automation of routine tasks not only enhances patient convenience but also ensures better follow-up and care continuity,” Castro says.

Costantino adds today’s patient engagement tools are arguably some of the most innovative technologies available to independently owned private practices.

“When it comes to patient communication capabilities and self-scheduling features, these solutions give patients more control over their health care experience, making it easy to contact their provider about treatment programs, request digital medical prescriptions and traditional prescriptions, or request a telehealth consultation,” he explains.

He points out the added levels of convenience and flexibility offered by intuitive patient communication and self-scheduling platforms, practices can lean further into patient-centric approaches to care, significantly boosting patient satisfaction scores and outcomes.

Castro says with decreasing reimbursements and increasing administrative tasks, RPA becomes crucial in health care.

“It can help clinicians by automating repetitive tasks, thereby reducing their administrative burden and allowing more time for patient care,” Castro says. “This shift towards efficiency is essential in an environment where clinicians are expected to do more with less.”

In small clinics, for example, managing accounts receivable and ensuring timely reimbursements is critical.

“The delay in reimbursements from insurance companies can be a significant issue, leading some physicians to switch to cash-only practices to avoid delays and disputes,” he says.

AI and technological advancements can streamline these financial processes, reducing the time for reimbursements and alleviating financial pressures on small health care providers.

Costantino says the complex and time-consuming nature of the claims process requires effective technology solutions that easily integrate across systems, allowing for more collaboration between payors and the providers implementing EHR platforms.

“Fortunately, much of the innovation happening within the health care technology vendor space translates to more seamless integrations between the teams that work on these platforms—for both payors and providers,” he says.