June 23, 2015
Healthcare Industry Must Focus on Training Machines Over the Next Three Years, Accenture Reports
CHICAGO; June 23, 2015 – Healthcare executives expect that, within the next three years, their industry will need to focus as much on training machines as they do on training people, according to one finding from a new report by Accenture (NYSE: ACN).
The industry report, Accenture Healthcare Technology Vision 2015, [is based on a survey of doctors, consumers and healthcare executives and] highlights emerging technology trends that will affect the health industry in the next three to five years. Roughly four-in-five (84 percent) health executives agree or strongly agree that their industry will need to focus as much on training machines – such as using algorithms, intelligent software and machine learning – as they do on training people in the next three years. In fact, most of those surveyed (83 percent) agree that provider organizations, driven by a surge in clinical data, will soon need to manage intelligent machines as well as employees.
“As the digital revolution gains momentum, doctors and clinicians will use machines to augment human labor, personalize care and manage more complex tasks,” said Kaveh Safavi J.D. M.D., who leads Accenture’s health business. “The digital revolution is also creating a data goldmine that can spark medical breakthroughs and improve individualized treatment plans.”
Intelligent machines will also support the surge in health data from various disparate sources, such as diagnostic tests, internet-connected devices, genomics and medical records. In fact, access to large volumes of new patient data is driving some challenges, as the survey found 41 percent of health executives said their data volume has grown more than 50 percent last year. This data explosion, accompanied by advances in processing power, analytics and cognitive technology, is fueling smarter software that makes it easier to turn big data into better decisions and better healthcare. Approximately half of the healthcare executives surveyed said they use rule-based algorithms (59 percent of respondents), machine learning (52 percent), intelligent agents (49 percent) and predictive analytics (45 percent) to infuse intelligence into systems.
Beyond turning massive amounts of new data into insights, this wave of new technology will create a single platform for data generated by patients, doctors and clinicians. Patient-generated data is already demonstrating benefits among health executives, as nearly three-fourths (73 percent of respondents) have seen positive ROI from their investment in these technologies, such as wearables tracking an individual’s fitness and vital signs. In addition, Accenture found that most physicians (85 percent) believe that wearables improve a patient’s engagement with their own health, while three-fourths (76 percent) of patients believe that wearables have the potential to help them better manage their health and potentially improve it. This is also why health monitoring is the top reason more than half (54 percent) of patients use smartphone applications.
“We’re entering an era of personalized healthcare where patients expect to have a meaningful and convenient individual health experience, both virtually and in-person,” Safavi said. "The advent of real-time patient data, smarter technologies and individualized services will help health providers break from their traditional business models and provide outcome-focused services for individuals."
The Accenture 2015 Healthcare IT Vision is part of the company’s annual research on emerging technology trends facing large industry organizations in the next three-to-five years.  Researchers gathered input from the Technology Vision External Advisory Board, a group comprising more than two dozen executives and entrepreneurs from the public and private sectors, academia, venture capital firms and startup companies. For this industry-specific research, Accenture gathered input from a survey of 601 doctors, 1,000 consumers and 101 healthcare executives.

About Accenture
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with more than 323,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$30.0 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2014. Its home page is www.accenture.com.
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Jenn Francis
Accenture Health
+ 1 630 338 6426