Think tank urges healthcare providers to invest more in AI and tech post-pandemic
European network of health innovators, EIT Health has today launched an AI report from its Think Tank, outlining the need for a post-pandemic technological transformation to strengthen EU health systems over the next decade.
The ‘Healthcare Workforce and Organisational Transformation with AI’ report identifies key focus areas that need to be addressed at an EU and national level, during the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to maximise the potential of AI and technology in healthcare.
WHY IT MATTERS
As life expectancy increases, healthcare systems face increasing demand, with patients having more complex needs, costs rising and the workforce struggling to meet demand.
EIT Health predicts that without major structural and transformational change, healthcare systems will become unsustainable, and the European vision of universal healthcare will be threatened.
Key recommendations from the report include improving collaboration and exchange of best practice across the EU, building on existing networks and infrastructures to support AI integration, improving education and skills, and developing value-based financial models that incorporates AI.
EIT Health is also encouraging a more robust data infrastructure for Europe, to ensure member states and healthcare systems can share data. This will in turn enable experts to track diseases, diagnose diseases faster and develop new AI-based solutions.
The report also found that health workforce imbalances and shortages are a major concern in the European region and that there is a need to attract, train and retain more healthcare professionals. In fact, the World Health Organisation predicts there will be a 9.9 million shortfall of clinicians, nurses and midwives globally by 2030.
Furthermore, data from a joint EIT Health and McKinsey and Company report published last year indicated that AI automation could help alleviate workforce shortages, accelerate the research and developments of treatments, and help reduce the time spent on administrative tasks. Activities that currently occupy between 20 to 80% of doctor and nurse time can be streamlined or removed with the use of AI.
THE LARGER CONTEXT
Earlier this year, EIT Health invested €3 million in innovations for endometrial cancer and Parkinson's disease.
Also in the aim to support health organisations recover as they navigate COVID-19, Novartis UK and NHS spin-out, Cievert recently announced a digital innovation partnership to encourage impactful collaboration in science technology.
ON THE RECORD
Jan-Philipp Beck, CEO at EIT Health, said: “The outcomes of the AI Think Tank Report has given us clear and consistent messages on how to drive AI and technology forward within European healthcare systems. We already know that AI has the potential to transform healthcare, but we need to work quickly and collaboratively to build it into current European healthcare structures.
“The challenge of the pandemic has undoubtedly helped accelerate growth, adoption and scaling of AI, as stakeholders have fought to deliver care both rapidly and remotely. However, this momentum needs to be maintained to ensure that benefits to healthcare systems are embedded long-term and help them to prepare for the future – something which will benefit all of us.”