Artificial Intelligence continues to improve, providing businesses with greater efficiencies, task automation, fewer opportunities for error, access to complex data analyses, and much more. With the economic changes that have accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic, these efficiencies are more helpful than ever. Like any new technology, however, AI also provides challenges that industry leaders need to learn how to handle. Among those challenges? Measuring ROI. At VisitPay, we’ve developed a system for measuring ROI that may be helpful as you implement AI into your own business.
The Real Cost of Artificial Intelligence
AI can provide substantial efficiencies in many industries—often saving large amounts of money, time, and other resources. Of course, implementing AI and keeping it running comes at a cost. When you break it down, there are two main expenditures associated with Artificial Intelligence.
First, it’s important to consider the cost of data. Specifically: good data. We live in a world where data is everywhere, but not all of it is reliable or accurate. “Acquiring the right data from the right sources becomes expensive,” says Wendy Alexander, VP of Client Performance, Analytics, and Decision Science. But it’s crucial.
The second cost associated with AI? The people who run it. The right people will be able to find the right data, as addressed above. They can source, quantify, and qualify data sources, making sure your AI model is set up for success. “Many people dabble in AI technologies,” says Alexander. “But to get the results needed to meet your intended business outcomes, you need to have significant business acumen coupled with significant technical acumen. And that doesn’t come cheap.”
Expect the Unexpected
It’s important to remember that, when dealing with Artificial Intelligence, we’re translating back and forth between man and machine. That means that there’s a level of unpredictability and subjectivity we need to be comfortable with. The key is to be ready to adapt.
“Find your benchmark. And you can find your returns, and ultimately, your metrics,” says Wendy Alexander.
“Take today’s pandemic into consideration,” says Alexander. “We are actively rethinking the economic, medical, and societal functions we once might have used to teach our AI projects.” In other words, we’re changing what our AI is doing to fit our changing needs.
Real life is full of surprises, from macro-level events (like the COVID-19 pandemic) to microcosmic instances (like an unexpected perspective). These can have huge impacts on the results of your AI project and your business objectives as a whole. That’s why any AI project needs to be built to be flexible and adaptable. “Be open to new and timely data sources,” says Alexander. “Predict the unpredictable. And, when in doubt, turn to what you trust—in our case, that’s the perspective of our patients and our hospitals.”
Find Your Benchmark
Just like other ROI initiatives, AI projects are measured in direct correlation with business goals or KPIs—although the specific metrics vary based on the industry or use. However, Alexander points out an often-overlooked element in AI analysis: your project’s benchmark of comparison. It’s important to take note of where you started and where you want to go. “Find your benchmark. And you can find your returns, and ultimately, your metrics,” she says.
For VisitPay, we’ve established our measurement of returns based on two factors. First, we look at the payment rates our health system clients receive. Second, we take into account the billing experience satisfaction rate reported by our healthcare patients. “Our AI models are then designed to find the optimum possible balance between those two dynamics so that we can best serve our hospitals and our patients,” says Alexander. Establishing benchmarks and goals makes optimization possible moving forward.
Artificial Intelligence and automation have incredible potential. However, understanding the technology is the best way to get the most out of it. If it’s set up and monitored properly, built to be adaptable, and metrics and KPIs have been clearly identified, it’s sure to be a powerful tool.