For all the buzz of generative AI in healthcare, I think everyone is completely missing the point. People simply aren’t thinking big enough. Generative AI is going to disrupt the entire $4 trillion healthcare system. Fortunes will be made and lost in the coming revolution.

As an active participant in the healthcare AI revolution, I am working every day to build CareYaya for a future that returns care to its roots: at home.

Driving to a big, concrete “hospital” to get your healthcare is going to become as old-fashioned as driving to a big concrete “mall” to buy your books, electronics or clothing.

The future is one where care comes to you, rather than the other way around. By leveraging generative AI, emerging digital health technologies and innovative care models, every home will be transformed into a sanctuary of healing. Patients will receive personalized care tailored to their unique needs, resulting in improved experiences, better outcomes and lower costs – the triple aim.

The biggest healthcare companies of the future will be today’s innovators who rapidly build nationwide care delivery forces equipped with cutting-edge AI and digital health technologies.

This revolution is coming at a critical time. The U.S. healthcare system is failing, with worsening health inequities and out-of-control spending. We spend 50% more of our GDP on healthcare than any other advanced country, yet deliver worse outcomes. The rapidly aging population will strain this system even further. Just last month, 25% of people above 65 had to reduce spending on food and essentials to pay their healthcare bills.

Source: CareYaya AI.

This is no time for small, baby-step innovations, like using AI to streamline clinical documentation or insurance authorization paperwork. Those are just Band-Aids on a healthcare system that’s bleeding from every angle.

Now is an opportunity for major disruption and systemic transformation. Both the financial opportunity and social impact are massive. When you think about the potential impacts I discuss below, you’ll see why it’s a future worth fighting for.

In the course of history, healthcare moved from home to hospital

For thousands of years, healthcare was primarily delivered at home by visiting physicians. Ancient civilizations across the globe, from Egypt to Asia, relied on this model of care. Patients preferred to heal at home.

Hospitals, derived from the Middle English term for “a place that cares for people too old or poor to care for themselves,” were once seen as places to die rather than heal.

However, the mid-1900s marked a pivotal shift. Technological advancements like X-rays, antibiotics and modern surgical techniques drove a dramatic transition from home-based care to hospital-based treatment. This shift resulted in significant improvements in care, with U.S. life expectancy at birth surging from less than 40 years in the 1860s to over 70 years by the 1960s.

Life Expectancy at Birth in the U.S., 1800-2016.
Source: Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

‘Big medicine’ prioritized profits over patient care

The good idea of hospital-based care went too far. Most life expectancy gains occurred from 1900 to 1960, when U.S. healthcare spending rose from 2% to 5% of GDP – a bargain for better health.

Healthcare spending as a share of U.S. GDP, 1800-2016.
Source: Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR).

In the 1960s, “Big Medicine” took hold, prioritizing profit over patient care. This led to a system plagued by inefficiencies and impersonal services. Healthcare spending has skyrocketed without significant improvements in outcomes.

Since the 1970s, healthcare spend has outpaced GDP growth every decade, tripling in the last 20 years. It jumped from 5.0% of GDP in 1960 to 17.4% in 2023, with minimal gains in life expectancy or outcomes.

Healthcare now has the highest inflation rates of any category.

Soaring healthcare expenses cost everyone

Healthcare matters to companies in every industry. Health insurance is now the second largest expense for most employers after payroll. Read that sentence again.

The healthcare sector is a vital part of the U.S. economy, employing 1 in every 8 citizens.

Despite outspending other advanced countries, the U.S. ranks 35th in health outcomes, with the:

  •  lowest life expectancy
  • highest chronic disease burden
  • an obesity rate double that of other high-income nations

Over 51% of health spending goes to hospitals and clinics, presenting the biggest opportunity for transformation. A fundamental shift in care delivery is necessary.

Electronic health records: A cautionary tale of misguided innovation

The healthcare industry’s recent history with digital transformation, particularly the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs), serves as a warning about the consequences of implementing technology without prioritizing patient care.

Source: JAMA, “The Cost of Technology”.

A poignant illustration from a 2012 JAMA article depicts a 7-year-old girl’s drawing of her doctor’s visit. The doctor is staring at a computer, his back turned to the patient and her family.

This encapsulates how EHRs, an innovation that patients never asked for, diverted doctors’ attention and transformed them into data entry clerks, ultimately worsening the patient care experience.

The healthcare industry’s rapid adoption of EHRs, driven by government incentives rather than a desire to improve patient experience, resulted in a suboptimal integration of technology into workflows. This digital transformation has made both patient and provider experiences worse.

Transforming healthcare: Bringing care home with AI and digital health

Unlike the EHR debacle, patients clearly prefer the convenience and comfort of care at home. Generative AI and digital health tools offer a pathway to deliver what people want, enabling a major shift from facility-based care to home-based care.

An AI-driven healthcare transformation could completely reimagine care delivery, putting the patient at the center and leveraging AI to expand access, improve diagnostics, and deliver personalized interventions. McKinsey estimates that over 25% of Medicare-related services could shift to home care within this decade.

Source: CareYaya AI.

Consider Maria, a 70-year-old with chronic heart failure. Under traditional care, she would require frequent hospitalizations and disruptive skilled nursing facility stays. With AI-powered home care, Maria could be monitored remotely, receive personalized recommendations from a virtual health assistant, and have meals delivered to her home. Early detection of deterioration would enable timely virtual check-ins and in-person intervention, preventing costly hospitalizations.

Research shows that acute home care can cost 52% less than facility-based care, with shorter durations, lower readmissions, better outcomes, and higher patient satisfaction.

Unleashing the power of home-based care

The homecoming of healthcare merges ancient wisdom with modern technology. AI-driven platforms enable a more personalized, proactive, and patient-centric care model that empowers individuals and families to actively manage their health, just as our ancestors did for millennia.

The shift to AI-powered home-based care offers numerous benefits:

1. Enhanced patient comfort and convenience

2. Reduced strain on hospital resources

3. Improved accessibility and equity for underserved communities

4. Proactive and preventive care through continuous monitoring and early detection

5. Personalized interventions tailored to each patient’s unique needs

Consider John, a 75-year-old with type 2 diabetes. An AI-powered home health system transformed his care experience. A smart pill dispenser ensures timely medication intake, while a continuous glucose monitor sends real-time data to his healthcare team. The AI analyzes this data, enabling personalized adjustments to John’s care plan. This level of support and oversight improves John’s diabetes control, reduces complication risks, and enhances his overall well-being.

Generative AI: The key to unlocking home-based care’s potential

Generative AI is crucial for realizing the full potential of home-based care. These are examples of how I believe AI will be utilized for transitioning care to home:

1. AI-driven remote patient monitoring enables early intervention and prevents adverse events by continuously tracking vital signs and symptoms.

2. AI algorithms analyze data from wearables and smart home devices, generating personalized alerts and recommendations.

3. AI integrates data from various sources to create comprehensive patient profiles and personalize care plans.

4. AI-powered virtual health assistants provide 24/7 support and guidance.

5. AI-enhanced telemedicine enables real-time consultations with healthcare professionals.

6. Scalable AI solutions expand access to care while reducing costs through automation and resource optimization.

Envision a future where AI-powered health hubs in every home integrate data from sensors and wearables, continuously monitor health, detect anomalies, and provide personalized recommendations. When medical attention is needed, the health hub connects patients with AI-assisted virtual care teams for remote consultations and guidance. This seamless integration of AI, telemedicine, and home-based care represents a paradigm shift that empowers patients and ensures timely, high-quality care delivery.

Innovative healthcare companies leading the charge

As healthcare undergoes this transformative shift, innovative companies like CareYaya Health Technologies are at the forefront of the revolution. CareYaya combines a nationwide community health workforce with cutting-edge AI to bring care delivery into homes across America.

Source: CareYaya AI.

Our key differentiator is our focus on building a robust community health workforce. By deploying this workforce into homes equipped with AI-powered digital health tools, we ensure patients have access to high-quality, personalized, evidence-based care. A key barrier to AI implementation is the lack of digital health literacy of the patient population, especially older adults – they can’t benefit from these tools if they don’t know how to use them. That is why we have started empowering the community health workforce to hold digital health literacy workshops for older adults, to upskill them for the coming usage of AI technologies in the home. In addition, CareYaya is working with Johns Hopkins on AI-powered training for dementia caregivers – one of the largest and fastest-growing needs for care at home.

This human-centered approach, augmented by AI, forms the foundation of our vision for the future of healthcare. Our approach prioritizes patient-centricity, accessibility, and cost-effectiveness, representing a fundamental shift in the healthcare landscape. As CareYaya expands its reach and refines its AI-powered solutions, it has the potential to become America’s largest healthcare company by 2030.

Conclusion: Generative AI can transform healthcare one home at a time

The future of healthcare is one where care comes to the patient. By leveraging generative AI and innovative care models, we will transform homes into healing sanctuaries, delivering personalized, timely care tailored to each patient’s unique needs.

In this future:

1.      Patients and families experience improved outcomes and quality of life

2.      Workforce shortages become a thing of the past

3.      Unsustainable healthcare spending is reined in

This vision is not just a dream; it’s a reality that innovators are already building. By harnessing AI and embracing patient-centricity, we can revolutionize healthcare delivery and usher in a new era of accessible, affordable, high-quality care for all.

Success will depend on integrating AI in a way that enhances, rather than replaces, the human touch in healthcare. It will require patient-centricity, challenging the status quo, and collaboration across the healthcare ecosystem.

The road ahead is challenging, but the potential rewards are immeasurable. By embracing generative AI and reimagining healthcare delivery, we can create a system that truly puts patients first, delivering better outcomes, lower costs, and improved access for all.

Healthcare is returning to its roots: at home.


Editor’s Note: Neal K. Shah is the CEO of CareYaya Health Technologies, one of the fastest-growing health tech startups in America. He runs a social enterprise and applied research lab utilizing AI and human capital innovation to advance health equity through technology. Neal is a “Top Healthcare Voice” on LinkedIn with a 30k+ following, having led partnerships with top healthcare systems in America.