Author: ETHealthworld l February 27, 2020 l Image Source: Latest Health Technologies
Digital technologies are fundamentally transforming the way we interact with the world. People, machines, data, and processes are becoming increasingly connected, and the result is an explosion of information that can be used to understand consumer needs. Yet the sheer volume of data and data sources required to get us where we need to go has exceeded the pace and scale that human capacity is able to process.
Enter artificial intelligence (AI). AI is poised to lead the next wave of exponential change disrupting health care and other industries through mobilizing analytics and automation to deliver empathetic, personalized experiences. The winners in the health care industry will be those organizations that not only empower consumers to own their health data but use AI to generate actionable insights from data in real time to drive personalized engagement and positive health outcomes, while protecting the consumer’s privacy.
Establishing a Gateway Goal and Creating a Multidimensional Strategy
A gateway goal is an overarching plan fashioned as a mission statement with the ability to bring a future-based project into focus and lay the groundwork to begin building the structure that supports an organization’s transformation.
Using health care as an example, a gateway goal could be to create a multidimensional digital transformation strategy with an AI-first mindset to treat every health care consumer as a population of one.
Planning the logical steps to the gateway goal can then be visualized and developed, which occurs in five steps:
- The first step is investing heavily in underlying data-management capabilities to serve as the foundation. The data infrastructure must be designed and developed to process both structured and unstructured data, feeding and curating the data pipeline, and continually governing and certifying the data.
- The second step is establishing a platform-based AI engine rather than point-to-point data solutions.
- The third step is implementing data governance, security, and a trusted layer around the data stores.
- The fourth step is adding machine learning engines, algorithm layers, software development kits, and building out application programming interfaces (APIs) for web portals, mobile gateways, and internal channels.
- The fifth step is integrating feedback mechanisms that allow the AI to continuously evolve from data gathering to provide personalized insights and prompt individualized actions. These feedback mechanisms automate and speed up processes while allowing the AI to continuously learn and improve future interactions and recommendations. An essential element of this step is integrating explainability measures to ensure human users are able to interpret, understand, and explain machine-generated predictions and actions.
An essential part of my role as the Chief Digital Officer at Anthem, Inc., the second-largest health plan in the United States serving more than 79 million people, is to anticipate the future goal and potential of AI transformation. Recognizing the rapid pace of change, introduction of new exponential technologies, and the continuous evolution of AI, our organization heavily invested in the foundational data-management capabilities to expedite our ability to deliver steps two through five.
Maximizing the Potential of AI by Gaining Enterprise-Wide Support
Realizing the full potential of AI across an organization requires gaining enterprise-wide support, which means conceptualizing with stakeholders the positive business outcomes that will be achieved.
For Anthem to realize the full potential of AI and launch our digital transformation, we asked our business partners for input on how we could use AI to rethink, reimagine, and re-implement across core business processes. Initially, we focused on automating data processing and analysis where AI could have the largest impact on our business: serving consumers more effectively and efficiently.
The team identified the following operational functions as the top choices for initial pilot programs – claims adjudication, prior authorization of procedures, provider payments, and consumer/customer billing functions. Our teams built a proof of concept for each, and if the application proved value with measurable results, we doubled down to scale it, applying agile techniques, and accelerating the process into production.
As Anthem ushers in a new era of health care, AI is just one exponential technology fueling our enterprise-wide digital transformation. We are continuously looking at opportunities to apply 10X “exponential” thinking to better serve our consumers. What does 10X “exponential” thinking mean? It is applying transformational approaches and innovative ways of thinking, integrating and developing exponential technologies to solve business challenges, and delivering 10X exponential impact versus 20% incremental impact. For example, one of our recent projects is a yearlong data trial to test whether blockchain and precision medicine, along with AI, can predict when people will experience allergies. Our theory is that our predictive model will add accuracy, speed, and cost-effectiveness to providing health-related insights.
Accelerating AI Transformation by Shifting Organizational Culture
An organization’s AI transformation is continuous to meet the rapid pace of change. It is essential for organizations to energize and accelerate transformation by focusing on minimal viable changes (MVCs), which are small, incremental changes across the organization that influence employee behaviors and drive the ability for change.
To enable and sustainably capitalize on the ambitions afforded by a multidimensional digital transformation, organizations must take deliberate strides to become digital. Identifying a series of MVCs helps an organization adapt digital traits into their culture in a methodical manner and supports becoming more digital over time.
In organizing for the future at Anthem, Inc., we routinely analyze and identify which organizational, operational, and behavioral MVCs to prioritize that drive a growth mindset, foster agility and creativity, and will catapult us into the future.
As an organization, we have prioritized the following five digital traits as MVCs to accelerate transformation:
- Intentional, interdisciplinary collaboration, replacing siloed activities
- Synchronized ways of working, replacing fragmentationCustomer centricity, replacing process centricity
- Morphing team structures, replacing rigid hierarchies
- Changing nature of work, replacing adherence to legacy job functions
Organizing for the Future with AI
One thing we have learned from this journey is to do away with the notion of building capabilities from scratch.
Instead, it is important to understand how AI can impact business outcomes, then connecting related, fit-for-purpose use cases to achieve small wins. By approaching AI with a process-level view, you are able to deploy next-generation technology in a way that significantly improves the experience for all of your consumers.
As these new innovative approaches are applied using AI, it is just as critical to ensure your organization’s culture adapts to new ways of working. Employees will be required to learn, develop, and foster new norms and behaviors in which humans and machines interact and collaborate in ways that were previously not required.
It is my sincere hope that you, too, can champion AI transformation in your organization.