More Than A Solution: AI and Automation as a Strategy

More than a solution: AI & automation as a strategy

Does your healthcare organization have an explicit AI and automation strategy? In 2019, less than half of providers said yes.1 Unfortunately, hospitals without a clear strategy will struggle to fully reap the benefits of these incredible technologies.

The prevalence of automation and AI in healthcare is exploding. New studies, new solutions, and new ideas are developing every day for applications that can improve care and add efficiency to healthcare processes. But too often, AI is viewed merely as a solution, a standalone endeavor to solve one problem. Combine this approach with healthcare’s slow adoption process, and it can be difficult to see realistically how a hospital can adopt widespread AI. So, how can healthcare organizations take full advantage of AI’s potential?

In order to effectively scale AI throughout an organization, healthcare leaders need to start thinking bigger. It’s time to stop looking at AI and automation as a solution – you need a comprehensive AI strategy.

What is AI as a strategy?

What does it mean to think of AI as a strategy? First, let’s look at AI as a solution. A department identifies a need and thinks AI or RPA may be able to help. After months of looking at solutions, getting stakeholders aligned, and approving funds, they choose a vendor or build internally. There is implementation, employee training, and new workflows to develop. That bot works alone on that single automation, and when another department identifies a need, the process starts all over again.

This cycle is too long and requires too much work to get just one automation or workflow benefit. With all of the opportunities available in the hospital, you’ll never reap the true benefits of AI with piecemeal implementations. Having an AI strategy helps you scale automation throughout the enterprise with less headache and more speed to value. You can deploy solutions in various functional areas without starting from scratch for each project. Plus, a clear vision aids in effective change management: employees will have more understanding of AI’s role, and what the positive impacts will be.

Developing an AI strategy means having automation as a stated goal of your organization, having a team in place – ideally a multidisciplinary team – to champion AI, and having a vision for how AI will fit into your workplace. This allows you to quickly assess opportunities, choose high-value priorities, and make investment decisions. Organizations that have an AI strategy in place have seen massive payoffs, especially in the wake of COVID-19. For example, OSF Healthcare formed a multidisciplinary team three years ago to create a digital strategy roadmap and AI adoption strategy, and this foundation of tools, structures and vendor relationships enabled them to quickly deploy AI as part of their COVID-19 response.2

What makes an AI strategy successful?

One of the most important pieces of a successful AI strategy is choosing the right partner. Building internally or hiring consultants has merit, but research has shown that the most successful organizations tend to buy rather than build. When you choose to build internally, you’re limited by your internal capabilities, time, knowledge and experience. The right outside partner has the time, experience and AI expertise to deliver better solutions, faster. In fact, Deloitte’s State of AI in the Enterprise survey from 2020 found that “Seasoned” and “Skilled” AI adopters were more likely than Starters to buy the AI systems they need (as opposed to build).3 They realize that buying delivers efficiencies they can’t match internally.

At Olive, we provide AI-as-a-service so our hospitals can implement and scale Olive quickly, without large upfront costs. Olive works in multiple functional areas, from Supply Chain to Pharmacy and more, eliminating the need for multiple vendors. And Olive shares one brain across all her hospitals, so our clients can take advantage of growing knowledge and experience gained from every healthcare organization she serves.

“This is so different than a typical IT implementation in that you’re never done… It’s just looking for the next opportunity where we can roll it out and take advantage of it.” – Karen Testman, CFO of MemorialCare, Olive customer

Olive is more than a solution

Artificial intelligence is a game-changer for the backend of healthcare. Once you start looking at AI more broadly, instead of as a single solution, you’ll find endless possibility for improvement. Start asking yourself, can this be automated? Could AI improve this process? What higher-value work could my team be focused on?

With Olive, you have a single partner that understands healthcare and how to best deploy across the enterprise for maximum impact. Our customers quickly realize tangible ROI and accelerated benefits, improving their bottom line and allowing human employees to focus on what matters most: the patient experience.

Want to learn more about AI strategies from actual health system executives? Watch the webinar, Accelerating productivity & revenue with an AI workforce, with MedStar Health, MemorialCare Health System, Essentia Health and Olive.



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