US healthcare costs are soaring: total spending is projected to reach $5.7tn by 2026. But the debate in Washington remains stuck on the subject of who should pay for care rather than addressing why it is so expensive in the first place: a lack of productivity gains.
Productivity — which measures output per unit of input — has remained stagnant in healthcare for decades, despite improvement in almost every other industrial sector in the US. There are even indications that the hourly output of outpatient care has declined consistently, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and other studies.
This lack of productivity growth translates into higher costs for patients and taxpayers as we pay more for less care. ….
Assistive applications can improve quality of care, but they do not eliminate the need for the time and expertise of an expensive specialist, and thus do not address the productivity problem.
That’s why the prospect of autonomous AI in healthcare is so exciting. With autonomous programs, the AI makes the clinical decision without specialist supervision. This not only saves time, but also makes it possible to diagnose patients in more convenient locations: primary care clinics and other local settings.
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