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The Path to Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

There is a lot of excitement about Artificial Intelligence. The excitement is certainly warranted based on the potential that these solutions can offer. In an industry that has massive amounts of data and is very dependent on the data to both run efficiently and, more importantly, delivery high quality patient care any technology which can lead to significant improvement is anticipated.

In the case of Artificial Intelligence, there have been numerous examples already where productivity, efficiency and patient care have all been positively impacted. And to think we are just getting started since Artificial Intelligence is not yet widely utilized.

If you are an organization that hasn’t yet deployed this technology you may wonder how to do move forward and start realizing benefits for your organization.

First of all, while you can input data from many different sources, the best approach, is to layer Artificial Intelligence applications on top of an established data infrastructure. This can be a structured Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW), a Data Lake or some combination of the two. Also, you could have multiple EDWs or Data Lakes as sources.

However, the key is that you utilize a proven “source of truth” in order to achieve consistent outcomes. The EDW or Data Lake has already taken data from the source systems, transformed it as may be necessary and utilized tools such as MDM to ensure all the data is consistent. Also, while you may get value from a stand-alone project that feeds data directly from a source system, you will quickly want to expand the sources and types of data that are evaluated in order to drive different use cases.

Having an EDW or Data Lake as the source makes this much easier.

Another thing that is needed before starting down the path on Artificial Intelligence is a strategy that defines what information you are seeking, what business problem it will solve and how you will realize benefits from the process. A comprehensive strategy that starts with business objectives, defines the data required to generate information which can positively impact the business requirement and then documents the process changes required to realize the benefit is critical for long term success and to truly realize the value from this new technology.

Some organizations focus primarily on the technical aspects of Artificial Intelligence as opposed to the business process changes required to achieve value and, many times, this is the more difficult part of the process.

In summary, while Artificial Intelligence has great potential benefit to healthcare organizations, it will only really make a difference if the results are based on validated data, target key business requirements and are actionable. If you don’t have the resources or experience in-house to go through this process, I would suggest engaging a consulting firm to assist.

Perficient has invested heavily in this area and is assisting many of our healthcare clients in the deployment of Artificial Intelligence solutions. We also have proven experience in all aspects of EDW and Data Lake implementations so we can assist in laying the foundation for Artificial Intelligence deployment if you may need assistance in these areas.

We are very excited about this emerging technology and looking forward to working with our clients to delivery value to their organizations.

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Alan Cranford, Director, Client Services

Alan Cranford is a client services director within Perficient's national healthcare practice. Alan has more than 30 years of technology and healthcare industry experience, including former stints as CIO at two different hospital management companies. He has a broad background in software development, consulting and senior healthcare IT management.

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