In the News: How AI could address staff safety and efficiency
In the ever-evolving healthcare landscape, we find a captivating fusion of groundbreaking technology, the revolutionary prowess of artificial intelligence, a resilient workforce navigating uncharted challenges, financial pressures that loom large, and the menacing threat of cybersecurity breaches lurking in the shadows. Today, ongoing innovation is poised to be the hero battling adversity while the pursuit of safer, more efficient healthcare services takes center stage.
In our latest news roundup, we’ll delve into the heart of the current healthcare climate, exploring how AI could address issues ranging from staff safety to administrative efficiency. We’ll also examine the pressing concerns of talent acquisition and retention, alongside the forecast for ‘tripledemic’ viruses, as well as the growing threat of cybercrime within healthcare.
AI offers great potential to address healthcare workers’ challenges, such as patient violence, burnout, and misdiagnosis risk. It can help predict patient aggression, boost security, ease admin tasks via EHR integration, aid diagnosis, and monitor worker health. As such, leading healthcare entities are investing in AI for safety and well-being, but responsible AI use, including data privacy and ethics, is paramount as we advance healthcare worker safety.
A report from PwC reveals that over 80% of healthcare executives consider talent acquisition and retention the most significant risk for healthcare companies. In response to this challenge, healthcare firms are investing in internal development programs, education, and digital automation to enhance productivity and reduce administrative burdens.
Rising costs, including wages and inflation, are expected to lead to a 7% increase in medical expenses in 2024. As a result, hospitals are likely to seek higher reimbursements from payers due to staffing shortages and financial challenges.
A recent forecast by Airfinity predicts that U.S. hospitalizations from COVID-19, flu, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) will peak at the end of January 2024, with an estimated 57,000 weekly admissions, lower than the previous year’s winter peak of around 80,000 but still more substantial than pre-pandemic levels. The total admissions for these viruses during the upcoming winter season are expected to reach 1.15 million, over three times higher than the 2018-19 pre-pandemic respiratory virus season.
The healthcare sector faces growing cyber threats due to its perceived vulnerabilities and valuable data. Weak cybersecurity, high-pressure environments, and rising ransomware attacks make it an enticing target. Patient data is a prized asset, often subject to threats of exposure. In addition, the increasing use of IoT devices adds connectivity but also risks.
To protect patient information, collaboration with cybersecurity experts, adoption of advanced technologies like blockchain, and prioritizing data security are critical. The industry is in a constant battle against cyber threats, emphasizing the need for secure device development from the start.
Fewer, but larger, healthcare data breaches reported in 2023 with hackers often targeting 3rd parties
In the first half of 2023, the healthcare industry reported 308 data breaches, a 15% drop from late 2022, but the number of affected individuals hit a record 40 million.
Hackers caused 74% of breaches, and unauthorized access incidents rose from 15% to 23%. Third-party associates were targeted, impacting nearly half of all individuals. Network server breaches (77%) surpassed email breaches (19%) as the primary entry point for hackers. Overall, hospitals were the primary targets, with cyberattacks costing an average of $10.1 million each in 2022.