COVID-19 has made AI crucial to our health care system. But we shouldn’t stop there

It’s no secret COVID-19 has upended the entire health care system. The pandemic spurred clinicians and health systems to adapt quickly, accelerating changes that would have otherwise taken years to achieve.

One of the most significant changes is the rapid development and implementation of artificial intelligence and analytics.

Prior to the pandemic, three in four health systems had developed or planned to develop AI in their health care institutions, according to a study last year by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and GE Healthcare. Three-quarters of those who had already instituted AI said it enhanced their ability to treat illnesses. Four in five said it helped avert workplace burnout, a crucial benefit in today’s hospitals.

Hailed as a strong start at the time, these adoption rates have exploded in the months since the start of the pandemic. Health systems quickly saw an opportunity to put AI and analytics to work to minimize burdens on staff, maximize hospital resources, manage capacity and treat as many patients as possible. And AI will only become more central to how health systems operate.

But this is just one piece of the puzzle. The pandemic and the rise of AI, telemedicine and virtual care has proved the need for a modern digital infrastructure built specifically for the health care industry.