Artificial intelligence programs, the Internet of Things, and next-level big data analytics tools are likely to start producing a significant impact on healthcare delivery as early as 2017, say participants in a new Silicon Valley Bank survey.
The poll, which includes responses from 122 health IT company founders, executives, and investors attending a recent event, indicates a general belief that big data will continue to be a primary driver of innovation in the healthcare industry, but may run into adoption challenges and regulatory hurdles in the near future.
Forty-six percent of participants said that big data will have the greatest impact on healthcare over the next year, followed by 35 percent who believe artificial intelligence (AI) will be a major game-changer.
AI tools may have a broad range of applications across the healthcare spectrum, including patient engagement and customer relations, chronic disease management, clinical decision support, and sophisticated big data mining and analytics for diagnostics, population health management, and financial modeling.
Many current attempts to develop artificial intelligence for healthcare are based on semantic computing or cognitive computing techniques that require vast stores of big data to fuel algorithms that try to mimic the complexity and predictive capabilities of human thought.
These technologies, along with the Internet of Things (14.75 percent), augmented or virtual reality (2.46 percent), and healthcare robotics (1.64 percent), will be the major segments to watch as the industry enters the new year, the survey said.
Forty-five percent of respondents believe healthcare delivery and IT projects will see the most growth in 2017. Eighteen percent think telemedicine is ripe for a boost in the next twelve months, and 13.93 percent are betting on the growth of biopharma.
Perhaps surprisingly, fewer participants are seeing much potential in the technologies underpinning the IoT. Just 8.2 percent chose mobile health apps as their primary area of growth, while only 6.56 percent see a bright future for wearable devices.
This may be because 36.89 percent of participants believe that consumer and patient adoption will be the biggest challenge for the big data industry in the next year.
Despite significant ongoing interest in consumer-grade wearables like FitBit and the Apple Watch, providers and patients have both struggled to integrate IoT tools into the clinical decision making process.