By Andrew Lockhart, CEO, Fathom Health.
Healthcare has a vibrant startup and innovation ecosystem, but that doesn’t mean everyone shares the perks that come with technological developments. Historically, payors have often been ahead of the game in adopting and benefiting from new tech, forcing providers to play catch up.
But artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the game. A persistent trend I’ve witnessed is the steady rise of providers prioritizing technology – especially AI – to inform strategic priorities and address chronic headwinds such as staff shortages, increasing cost pressures, and slow reimbursement times, to name a few.
As healthcare leaders catch on to the enormous potential of AI to combat thorny issues, AI will take center stage next year, reshape the larger healthcare ecosystem, and begin to even the playing field between payor and provider.
As the end of the year approaches, here’s how I see this playing out in 2024:
Autonomous medical coding will be widespread — if not the norm.
The latest health IT report from Bain & Company and KLAS Research highlights the increasing importance of software and technology. Per the report, 70% of providers think AI will have a more significant impact on their organizations this year vs. last year, and an impressive 56% of those surveyed view software and technology as one of their top three strategic priorities, with revenue cycle management (RCM) coming in at a resounding first place. With many health systems focused on reducing administrative burdens for clinicians and a continued shortage of medical coders, autonomous coding adoption will surge.
Large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT won’t work as advertised.
There’s plenty of commotion about the capabilities of language models, but they will likely disappoint when functioning as the core of autonomous coding engines. However, they will be enormously valuable in solving smaller pieces and edge cases, pushing coding automation rates to 100% for all the high-volume outpatient specialties.