Expert offers solutions for overcoming the key adoption barrier of ‘human behavior’.

Lisette Hilton, Reporter and President

February 14, 2024

4 Min Read
Artificial Intelligence
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Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to simplify and create new healthcare processes, improve healthcare quality, increase access, improve the patient experience and clinician satisfaction, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.

“… we estimate that wider adoption of AI could lead to savings of 5% to 10% in US healthcare spending — roughly $200 billion to $360 billion annually in 2019 dollars,” the authors wrote.

Yet, US healthcare lags behind other business sectors in its adoption of AI, according to an article in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Less than 5% of health care organizations are using AI as of 2022, according to Svetlana Bender, PhD, vice president of AI and behavior science at GuideWell, the parent company of Florida Blue, which uses AI to improve member outcomes, provider experiences, and to help drive better member health. Bender spoke during a recent webinar by the National Institute for Health Care Management “Navigating the Future: How Artificial Intelligence is Reshaping Health Care.”

Adoption challenges and fixes

Bender covered adoption challenges companies will likely encounter when trying to adopt AI. For many companies, the key barrier for AI adoption is human behavior. And fear drives a lot of that behavior, she said.

“Fear of change, fear of the unknown and, rationally so, fear of algorithms,” Bender said.

Fear of change

Solutions for addressing fear of change and people’s preference for the status quo include having a clear vision and strategy. Engage all the relevant leaders and stakeholders in the organization, from the legal team and cybersecurity to marketing and other business functions.

“Basically, you need this group to make sure you can prioritize and identify high value use cases where you can apply AI, but also it enables you to coordinate and implement use cases safely all across your organization,” she said.

The second strategy for overcoming fear of change is to have an effective communication strategy to ensure alignment across the company. Make sure everybody understands what you’re trying to achieve and why you’re doing it, according to Bender.

The communication strategy can leverage behavioral principles. For example, people are more likely to engage if they feel they’re missing out on something, so rather than saying we must adopt, say what happens if we don’t adopt?

Education does not necessarily lead to action, so another fear of change ‘fix’ is to provide AI tools with which employees can experiment, she said.

Fear of the unknown

Fear of the unknown can cause many to take a wait-and-see approach in their AI adoption strategy. “As an organization, it’s important to understand what employees are feeling. So a pulse survey,” Bender said. “Then you can create targeted education to address some of those barriers.”

Guidewell has seen that AI causes fear of job displacement, so the company focused on the message that AI will augment people’s jobs. It’s also important to offer the opportunity to upskill employees to give employees confidence and familiarity with AI technology so they’re not afraid of it, she said.

Fear of algorithms

These fears are related to professional biases and machine-based decisions that could be wrong or discriminatory. That lack of trust hinders AI adoption.

But in reality, AI does not have innate dispositions to personal experiences, opinions, and beliefs to influence decisions. AI is a direct product of human creation. The bias can come from poor training, which is human generated. It could be due to poor algorithm building, which results from human-generated poor building, testing, or monitoring practices.

For AI to be without bias, we need to make sure we’re not introducing that bias and creating biased algorithms, according to Bender, continuing to highlight that companies need to practice responsible AI adoption, making sure to have things like governance, controls in place, and transparency and clarity for stakeholders on when, where, and how AI is used.

“Human oversight is important,” Bender said. “Make sure you include humans in the loop for every step to make sure everything is addressed properly. Address risk management and privacy, and make sure that you have robust AI systems that behave reliably.”

Guidewell has been building and leveraging AI models to help better identify members who might benefit from tailored education, potentially to deliver preemptive care, and more. The company also uses AI to streamline prior authorization — streamlining reviews of 75% of authorization requests to within 90 seconds — and created a ChatGPT-like tool for employees.

About the Author(s)

Lisette Hilton

Reporter and President, Words Come Alive

Lisette Hilton loves covering medicine, health, wellness and fitness, and has been a reporter following her passion for more than 25 years.

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