Trust still an important element, as healthcare goes digital

While healthcare organisations continue to unleash the power of intelligent technologies, using them to deliver more personalised, informed care, trust is a key currency that must not be left by the wayside, says new research.

Even though healthcare is becoming more digital and accessible to consumers, healthcare organisations still have their work cut out for them when it comes to introducing new technology, according to a new report from Accenture, published last month (May).

Accenture’s Digital Health Tech Vision 2018 reveals that 94% of health executives believe that treating patients and customers as partners is important or very important to gaining consumer trust - as is ensuring the security of consumer data, a trend 92% of executives also say is important to very important. And organisations must take care not to throw out with the bathwater, they say!

Emerging technology such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and virtual reality (VR), among others, will play a big role in driving consumer healthcare forward, says the professional services giant in the research, which explores five trends that underscore the importance of building a foundation of trust as technology has a greater impact in our lives.

Eighty six per cent of health executives in the research say their organisations will use data to drive automated decision-making at an unprecedented scale, while 77% expect to invest in IoT and smart sensors this year and 53% expect to invest in AI.

But 81% of healthcare executives also say they are not yet prepared to face the societal and liability issues needed to explain their AI systems’ decisions, and 86% of healthcare organisations have not yet invested in capabilities to verify the data that feeds into their systems, making errors possible.

“Many health organisations lack the capabilities needed to ensure that their AI and IoT systems act accurately, responsibly and transparently,” Accenture comments. “Inaccurate data leads to corrupted insights and skewed decisions,” it warns.

So how can organisations be responsible, equitable, transparent… i.e. good AI citizens?

That’s surely part of “doing no harm”, the mantra that has bound the healthcare industry since the Hippocratic Oath was first uttered. “For people to get the full benefits of digitally enabled healthcare services, providers and health plans must prioritise trust and responsibility,” says Accenture.

“Healthcare leaders have great potential to apply emerging technologies to create deeper, more meaningful relationships with people – but there are choices to be made on that journey,” says Accenture. “How will we apply technology, govern it and ensure that it does no harm? Now more than ever, these choices must be made with great caution and care.”

You can read Accenture’s Digital Health Tech Vision 2018 here.

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