OptumIQ Survey on Artificial Intelligence Reveals Confidence and Growth Opportunities

October 08, 2019

More than half of health care executives surveyed by OptumIQ say they expect artificial intelligence will create more work opportunities and 87% say hiring candidates with experience using AI technology is a priority for their organization. The new OptumIQ Annual Survey on AI in Health Care also revealed that 89% say employees are not being trained quickly enough to keep up with the growth of AI.

The OptumIQ AI survey of 500 U.S. health care executives demonstrates the need for a technologically knowledgeable health care workforce. Optum is at the forefront of health care innovation, using technology and advanced analytics applications, including AI, to help improve experiences and outcomes for everyone we serve while reducing costs. As a leader and innovator in health care, Optum remains deeply committed to improving outcomes and applying curated data, analytics and health care expertise – OptumIQ – to this goal every day.

Most recently, UnitedHealth Group has partnered with the Atlanta University Center Consortium on a five-year, $8.2 million project to educate and train the next generation of data scientists and employees with data analytics skills. In addition, UnitedHealth Group partnered with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to expand access to health informatics, educational opportunities and applied health data science research experiences.

“In order to transform and modernize the U.S. health system through the power of AI, it is critical that organizations invest in developing talent throughout the enterprise to solve health care’s most complex challenges,” said Steve Griffiths, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Optum Enterprise Analytics. “At Optum, we apply what we call OptumIQ – a distinctive combination of curated data, analytics and health care expertise – to drive that intelligence transformation.”

Executives across health sectors report high confidence and trust in the ability of AI to improve health care. While most respondents indicated high levels of trust in AI for both clinical and administrative tasks overall, when asked to rank specific applications more administrative applications were selected (62%) over clinical applications (38%).

“These findings validate that AI is vital to holistically transform health care. It’s encouraging to see executives’ growing trust in, and adoption of, AI to make data more actionable in making the health system work better for everyone,” said Dan Schumacher, president and chief operating officer of Optum. “Working together, I am confident we can improve the quality, experiences and reduce the total cost of health care in meaningful, sustainable ways.”

Other notable survey results include:

  • 50% of respondents expect to see a tangible cost savings in three years or fewer on their AI investment compared to 31% in 2018.
  • 50% said they will invest first in automating business processes such as administrative tasks or customer service.
  • 36% will invest in personalizing clinical care recommendations including drug therapies, and the same percentage (36%) will invest in accelerating research for new therapeutic or clinical discoveries.