Health Organizations Are Embracing Intelligent Technologies but Must Do More to Prepare for Societal Impact, Accenture Report Finds

CHICAGO--()--A new report from Accenture (NYSE:ACN) has found that the healthcare industry is aggressively adopting intelligent technologies, such as the internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI), but that many health organizations need new capabilities to ensure that technology acts with responsibility and transparency as businesses evolve.

“Intelligent technologies, such as AI, are enabling health organizations to evolve at speed, collaborate with other entities and create deeper, more meaningful relationships with patients across various care settings”

According to the report, Digital Health Technology Vision 2018, more than three-fourths (77 percent) of the 100 health executives surveyed said they expect to invest in IoT and smart sensors this year – the highest among the 20 industries included in the broader Accenture Technology Vision research on which the health industry report was based. In addition, more than half (53 percent) of the health executives expect to invest in AI systems, with four-fifths (86 percent) of the executives saying that their organizations use data to drive automated decision-making at an unprecedented scale.

However, as AI continues to play a greater role in decision-making, four-fifths (81 percent) of health executives said they are not prepared to face the societal and liability issues that will require them to explain their AI-based actions and decisions. As a result, about three-fourths (73 percent) said they plan to develop internal ethical standards for AI to ensure that their AI systems act responsibly.

In addition, health organizations also face a new kind of vulnerability: inaccurate, manipulated and biased data that leads to corrupted insights and skewed results. More than five-sixths (86 percent) of health executives have not yet invested in capabilities to verify data sources across their most critical systems. In addition, one-fourth (24 percent) of the executives said that they have been the target of adversarial AI behaviors, like falsified location data or bot fraud.

The report is derived from Accenture’s most-recent annual technology report, Accenture Technology Vision 2018, which predicts key trends likely to disrupt business over the next three years, including virtual/augmented reality, blockchain and edge computing. Among the findings from healthcare executives about these technologies:

  • More than four in five (82 percent) of the executives said that extended reality – comprising virtual- and augmented-reality technologies – removes the hurdle of distance in access to people, information and experience, with nearly half (48 percent) of health providers and one-sixth (16 percent) of health payers planning to invest in these technologies in the next year.
  • Nine-tenths (91 percent) of health executives believe that blockchain and smart contracts are critical to enabling a frictionless business over the next three years, and approximately the same number (88 percent) believe that microservices will be crucial for scaling and integrating ecosystem partnerships.
  • Four-fifths (82 percent) of health executives believe that “edge” architecture will speed the maturity of hyperconnected health environments, and slightly more (85 percent) believe that generating real-time insights from the volumes of data expected in the future will require computing “at the edge,” where data is generated. Yet the vast majority (86 percent) of health executives believe that they’ll need to balance cloud and edge computing to maximize technology infrastructure agility and enable intelligence everywhere throughout their organization.

“Intelligent technologies, such as AI, are enabling health organizations to evolve at speed, collaborate with other entities and create deeper, more meaningful relationships with patients across various care settings,” said Kaveh Safavi M.D., J.D., head of Accenture’s global health practice. “As this paradigm-shifting technology evolves – making business more dynamic than ever before – organizations will remain responsible for demonstrating data stewardship and designing systems with trust and transparency to bolster the societal benefits of these technologies.”

To learn more, register for the Accenture 2018 Digital Health Tech Vision Webcast taking place on July 18 at 11 am Eastern Time.

Methodology

The Accenture Technology Vision is developed annually by the Accenture Labs and Accenture Research. For the 2018 report, the research process included gathering input from the Technology Vision External Advisory Board, a group comprising more than two dozen experienced individuals from the public and private sectors, academia, venture capital firms and entrepreneurial companies. In addition, the Technology Vision team conducted interviews with technology luminaries and industry experts, as well as with nearly 100 Accenture business leaders. In parallel, Accenture Research conducted a global online survey of more than 6,300 business and IT executives across 25 countries and 18 industries to capture insights into the adoption of emerging technologies.

The healthcare industry report, Digital Health Technology Vision 2018, is based on C-level responses from 100 health organizations. The survey helped identify the key issues and priorities for technology adoption and investment. Respondents were mostly C-level executives and directors, with some functional and line-of-business leads, at companies with annual revenues of at least US$500 million, with most having annual revenues greater than US$6 billion.

About Accenture

Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries and all business functions – underpinned by the world’s largest delivery network – Accenture works at the intersection of business and technology to help clients improve their performance and create sustainable value for their stakeholders. With approximately 442,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world works and lives. Visit us at www.accenture.com.

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Accenture
Jenn Francis, +1 630-338-6426
jennifer.francis@accenture.com

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Health organizations are embracing intelligent technologies but must do more to prepare for societal impact, says Accenture.

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