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Physician burnout has permeated the healthcare landscape over the last decade, costing the US healthcare system $4.6 billion annually. Over 40% of US physicians said they were burned out pre-pandemic — a figure that's likely swelled amid the stress of treating coronavirus patients.
The staggering proportion of US physicians experiencing burnout is further compounded by findings that indicate the US is facing a clinician shortage: A pre-pandemic analysis published by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) projects the US will see a shortage of up to 139,000 physicians by 2033. And now, the coronavirus pandemic is exacerbating clinicians' feelings of burnout.
Providers are seeking ways to combat burnout and cut back on the associated costs — opening an opportunity for tech players with AI-based healthcare administration tools. Provider organizations have expressed significant interest in reducing clinicians' burnout, with hundreds offering their feedback to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of the federal agency's efforts to develop an actionable burnout-reduction strategy for physicians.
This presents a sizable opportunity for digital health startups and big tech firms alike, who have increasingly rolled out AI-based tools including machine learning services and voice-enabled digital assistants to help ease clinicians' stress and address the physician burnout crisis permeating the US.
In this report, Insider Intelligence explores the factors driving burnout among clinicians, and how digital health firms and big tech are developing AI solutions to address the US' physician burnout crisis. We first unpack the key drivers of US physicians' burnout, including the weight of their administrative burden and extensive working hours. Next, we explore four AI-powered solutions we've identified as having the ability to most effectively combat physicians' administrative burden and feelings of burnout. We then detail some of the limitations of current AI-based healthcare administration tools and explore barriers that have prevented some physicians from adopting the tech. Finally, we provide an outlook on what the next iteration of AI-powered healthcare administration solutions could look like.
The companies mentioned in this report are: Amazon, Amazon Web Services, Amgen, Apple, Austin Regional Medical Clinic, Cerner, CommonSpirit Health, Google, Google Cloud, Microsoft, Nebraska Medicine, Notable Health, Nuance, Suki, and Wolters Kluwer.
Here are some key takeaways from this report:
- Physician burnout has remained at dangerously high levels over the past 10 years — and the coronavirus pandemic is driving it to a fever pitch.
- Clinicians cite the administrative burden of tasks like charting and paperwork as the top driver of burnout — with long working hours also playing a major role.
- Digital health startups and big tech companies are rolling out AI-powered healthcare administration solutions to automate tasks and free up clinicians to focus their time on providing patients care.
- Despite AI's ability to combat physicians' burden, several barriers — like cost and return on investment considerations — are holding some providers back from adopting AI for administration.
- Digital health startups and big tech companies are working to overcome existing limitations and improve the capabilities of their AI-powered solutions to more effectively combat clinicians' administrative burden — and resultant burnout — on a wider, more accessible scale.
In full, the report:
- Explores the factors driving US physicians' burnout, and how the coronavirus pandemic is compounding clinicians' stress.
- Provides an overview of the digital health startups and big tech firms who have developed AI-based healthcare administration solutions with the ability to most effectively combat US physicians' feelings of burnout.
- Outlines the constraints of existing AI-powered healthcare administration tools and identifies factors that have stood in the way of adoption.
- Highlights what the future could hold for the AI-based healthcare administration space.
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