Product Managers Start To Use AI In Health Care Products

Product managers have to overcome hurdles to create AI products
Product managers have to overcome hurdles to create AI products
Image Credit: Photo by Hitesh Choudhary on Unsplash

If you are a product manager and you really want to make your life complicated, then what you should do is decide to develop a health care product. This is going to make your life complicated in a bunch of different ways. First off, any product that you create is going to have to be approved by federal regulators before people can use it to solve health care issues. Next, you’re going to have to find a way for people’s health care insurance to pay for it. Somewhat amazingly, there are still some product managers who choose to work in this market. These product managers now think that changing their product development definition and adding artificial intelligence (AI) to their products just might be what they need to do.

What Does It Take To Use AI In A Health Care Product?

Let’s face it, we’ve all seen those science fiction movies where the hero gets hurt and then they have to take him or her to a fancy high tech medical facility where they get scanned, the issue gets identified, and then some sort of spray is used to regrow a missing limb or heal a bullet wound. Although this view of the future may be attractive, we’re not there yet. However, the medical field does view artificial intelligence (AI) as being the ticket to getting us closer to that future. The race is on find ways to build products that have the AI smarts that we want.

The good news for product managers is that the AI technology to make products like this already exists. The bad news is that this technology needs to be fed. Specifically, it needs to be fed data, lots of data. The data does exist, but the data that is needed to answer specific health care questions currently resides in a number of different locations: diagnostic labs, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies. Silos of data are a pretty common thing in the health care space. The end result is that product managers who want to create AI enabled products are left at a disadvantage when it comes to building smart products. The ones who can solve this problem will have something to add to their product manager resume.

The good news is that there are smaller startup firms that are finding ways to solve this problem. Product managers at these companies are overcoming the data gathering problem by create the large data sets that they require in order to feed the AI functions of their products. One way that they are getting the data that they require is by teaming up with diagnostic labs. One firm that did this got data on 200M patients. It then took that data and matched it with data from health plans in order to create a product that could answer questions about which patients were more likely to develop specific medical conditions.

The Data Problem

Creating health care products that have AI built into them is all about creating tools that can be used by health care professionals. The goal is to help medicine find a way to take a great leap forward. The pharmaceutical companies can benefit from products like this by having the AI infused products help the company to identify health-care providers who are serving patients who might be able to benefit from using the pharmaceutical company’s drugs.

Many of the startup firms are creating their AI products using public data. This information is being used to create products that can be used by health systems to determine which of their customers will be able to pay their bills and which ones may qualify to be considered to be financial-aid candidates. Other firms are collecting publically available financial information from credit-reporting agencies.

One of the challenges that health-care providers are currently facing is that more and more of their patients are using high-deductible insurance plans. This means that these providers need to collect more of their revenue from patients instead of insurance companies. When they can use tools that use AI and machine learning, they can better anticipate their patient’s payment behaviors.

What All Of This Means For You

The field of medicine is always a fertile ground for new products to be created. Product managers who work in this space are looking at their product manager job description because they are interested in finding ways that artificial intelligence can be used to create products that will help to better anticipate patient’s needs. However, they are facing a problem that AI products require a great deal of data in order to operate correctly.

Product managers are currently working to build health care products that will have AI capabilities built-in to them. The challenge that they are facing is that the AI function requires a great deal of data in order to operate correctly. That data does exist, but it is spread out – it exists in diagnostic labs, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies. Product managers at small start-up firms are working to find ways to solve this problem. They are striking partnerships with diagnostic labs to get access to patient data. Pharmaceutical companies are interested in AI enabled health care products because they may be able to help them to identify patients who could benefit from their drugs. The product managers who are creating the AI enabled health-care products have started to reach out to publically available sources of patient information including credit-reporting services. One of their goals is to be able to anticipate a patient’s payment behaviors.

There is no question that AI will be incorporated into future health care products. The challenge that product managers are currently facing is that in order to be able to create useful products they need access to a great deal of health-care information. Product managers are starting to strike agreements with data providers in order to get the information that they need. Future health-care products may know more about you than you know about yourself when you finally meet them!

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Product Management Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that there is any source of medical information that should not be used by AI enabled health-care products?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Let’s face it: that Starbucks coffee sure does taste good. You know it, I know it, and all of those people who are currently standing in line waiting for their next cup of coffee know it also. Since it is so popular, it may come as somewhat of a surprise to you to learn that Starbucks is currently dealing with slowing foot traffic in their stores – not as many people are visiting them these days. At the same time, a lot of other companies have realized that people are willing to pay a lot of money for good coffee and so competition in the coffee shop business has shot up. The product managers at Starbucks are going to have to get creative and make changes to their product development definition if they want to keep their profits up.


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