Generative AI, a technology that extends far beyond its reputation for aiding high-school procrastinators in drafting last-minute term papers, is swiftly integrating into healthcare. This integration holds the promise of personalized patient experiences and a significant boost in medical data analysis, instilling a sense of hope and optimism in the industry.

It’s fair to say that sense of optimism is shared by many leaders within the global healthcare market as well. In 2022, the total AI market for healthcare was valued at $16.3 billion (USD). By 2029, that number is expected to skyrocket—by way of a compound annual growth rate of 40 —to exceed $173.5 billion.

Additionally, according to a new report from TechCrunch, major tech players such as Google Cloud, Amazon AWS, and Microsoft Azure are collaborating with healthcare systems worldwide to implement generative AI solutions, indicating broad industry enthusiasm. Startups like Ambience Healthcare and Nabla are also driving innovation in this field, attracting substantial venture capital investment.

However, skepticism persists among both professionals and patients regarding the readiness of generative AI for widespread adoption. Concerns revolve around its limitations, particularly in handling complex medical queries and emergencies. Studies have revealed significant error rates in AI-generated diagnoses, highlighting potential risks in relying solely on AI for medical decision-making.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Julia Stoyanovich—New York University associate professor of computer science and engineering at the Tandon School of Engineering and the Center for Data Science—underscores a concern felt by academics and medical practitioners alike.

“I’m never going to say that technology is harmful or we shouldn’t use it,” Ms. Stoyanovich tells Rolling Stone. “But in this particular case, I have to say that I’m skeptical, because what we’re seeing is that people are just rushing to use generative AI for all kinds of applications, simply because it’s out there, and it looks cool, and competitors are using it.”

While Ms. Stoyanovich views the integration of generative AI as “hype and magical thinking, that people really want to believe there is something out there that is going to do the impossible,” other organizations in the healthcare space view AI as a powerful tool to spur game-changing innovation.

“For us, [AI] innovation is something that never stops,” says Kahla Verhoef, Chief Product Officer at Egnite, in an interview with Fast Company. Egnite, a U.S.-based digital healthcare company that relies on AI to aid physicians in providing quicker access to treatments for patients, says AI-enabled innovations have spurred a 25% increase in the company’s ability to bring lifesaving interventions to market. Egnite’s flagship platform, CardioCare, is presently utilized by over 50 healthcare systems in the U.S., where it assists in identifying and treating previously unrecognized cardiovascular issues.

“Gaps in care may unintentionally delay care for patients with life-threatening cardiovascular diseases,” says Ms. Verhoef in a corporate press release issued in March 2024. “Artificial Intelligence technologies hold the potential to dramatically improve patient care and alleviate burdens on healthcare providers nationwide. Through these innovative solutions, we’re enabling providers to practice top-of-license care and ensure more patients are receiving life-saving therapy.”

Despite opposing viewpoints, AI continues to demonstrate enormous potential for healthcare companies, including Medtronic, a U.S.-based medical equipment manufacturer. In 2021, the company was awarded the FDA’s first clearance of an AI-enabled medical device for its GI Genius Intelligent Endoscopy Module. During the FDA review process, the module was able to aid practitioners in identifying lab-confirmed adenomas or carcinomas in 55% of patients compared to identifying them in 42% of patients with standard colonoscopy, an observed difference of 13%.

“When AI is combined with traditional screenings or surveillance methods, it could help find problems early on, when they may be easier to treat,” says Courtney H. Lias, Ph.D., acting director of the GastroRenal, ObGyn, General Hospital and Urology Devices Office in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

To ensure that future AI solutions are properly integrated into the healthcare space, The World Health Organization advocates for transparent governance and impact assessments to address concerns and ensure the responsible development of generative AI in healthcare. Once these concerns are appropriately resolved, widespread implementation could bring significant benefits to patients and the healthcare industry overall.

Add to MyEdge (0)
ClosePlease login

No account yet? Register

Let's Work Together

Ready to start producing
Remarkable Results?

Are you being disrupted or are you disrupting?

Let's Talk