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The story of artificial intelligence (AI) driving better health care outcomes has been a convoluted one, with hype-laden chapters on algorithmic cures for cancer and the future of robots replacing doctors. As those promises eventually proved overly ambitious, many people have lost the plot.

When the world fixed its collective gaze on the Covid-19 pandemic and AI innovation fell off the hype cycle, it did not die. Instead, it has quietly emerged as a critical link between patients, providers, and payers by helping identify gaps in care, guide strategic decision-making, and improve patient engagement with care managers and primary care providers. Bots may not have replaced clinicians, but they have emerged as an important link in the care-management process.


Take, for example, the widespread deferral of routine care during the pandemic. An estimated 41% of U.S. adults delayed or avoided medical care, including urgent or emergency care, at some point between March and June 2020. In many areas of health care, these rates have still not bounced back.

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