Healthcare’s AI Market to hit $6.6 bn by 2021

The increase in the healthcare AI market is driven by factors like greater consumer acceptance, change in healthcare models and increased investments.

A new Accenture report, which looked at investments, revenue growth and acquisitions in the AI space, predicts that the healthcare AI market will reach $6.6 billion by 2021 from just $600 million in 2014.

Key trends

·       The rapid growth is driven by factors like move to population health, and greater acceptance of machines in healthcare delivery by consumers, driven by experiences in other services.

·       Accenture’s survey of over 3000 consumers shows that one in five US patients have already used AI-powered healthcare services, like robots, virtual clinicians and home-based diagnostics.

·       In keeping with the move in the wider healthcare industry from volume of care to value-based models, business and venture funds are funding development of products and systems based on AI.
Examples: Use of AI by Anthem and Cigna to curtail opioid addiction; funding by Optum Ventures of the startup Buoy Health that has developed an AI-powered digital health assistant that helps patients better understand symptoms and advises on next steps.

·       Regulators are stepping up approvals of AI systems and related products.
Example: Approval of three of the seven robotics products developed by Bionik Laboratories, a venture whose solutions have been used for treating neurological disorders in over 200 hospitals in 20 countries.

The future of AI in healthcare

According to Bionik’s CEO, Eric Dusseux, there will be a steady evolution of AI both in the medical industry and beyond. Humans have long relied on technology to improve efficiency, productivity and process quality. Innovations like AI, machine learning and brain-computer interfaces will encourage continued usage of technology in the medical space to further optimize patient treatment and care.

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