AWS Public Sector Blog

New AWS survey reinforces need to accelerate AI fluency in healthcare

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Artificial intelligence (AI) is talked about as a must-have for organizations of all sizes to improve efficiency and experience. However, not all industries feel equipped to effectively put AI to use. The healthcare industry has been slower in adopting AI compared to other sectors, for some good reasons—like the complicated nature of health data and the importance of privacy and security. But by prioritizing AI training and talent acquisition, healthcare organizations can build and deploy responsible technology solutions that drive real value.

Access Partnership recently conducted a study commissioned by Amazon Web Services (AWS) on AI skills across various industries globally. Two surveys, one for employers and one for employees, were conducted among more than 4,600 respondents, including 412 working in healthcare in the US. Surveyed employers were leaders responsible for implementation or decision-making of their organization’s technology-related functions, and employees were those working in clinical or administrative support roles in healthcare delivery and residential care facilities. Respondents were asked their views on perceived AI fluency, AI benefits and productivity boosts, current and expected future extent of AI deployment, and hiring and training for AI. The results underscored the need to address the low rates of AI fluency among healthcare leaders and employees. This post provides a summary and analysis of findings from the study.

Key findings

1. US healthcare employers and employees expect a 44 percent increase in labor productivity from full AI utilization. However, their organizations face significant challenges in realizing this boost. A majority of healthcare employers, 61 percent, believe improving workflow and outcomes will be a top productivity benefit their organizations will see from AI. They are optimistic about the potential to help with things like fraud detection, quality assurance, and even review of medical imaging. Healthcare employees rated improving communication (for example, generating reports or creating invoices) as the most useful benefit, selected by 47 percent of respondents. Applications like these can enable providers and support staff to reallocate time to higher value tasks that ultimately improve their and their patients’ experiences—if the technology can be effectively harnessed and deployed.

Many healthcare organizations face a complex landscape of legacy technology and lack the comprehensive data strategy needed to create a foundation for successful deployment of AI applications. The lack of interoperability between different platforms means IT departments must take additional steps to connect data sources, from electronic health record systems to employee staffing tools to call centers. AI is only as good as the data it is trained on, so ensuring the connectivity, as well as privacy and security, of an organization’s sensitive, complex healthcare data is paramount. This requires skilled and trained employees.

2. US healthcare employers expect 38 percent of their employees will use AI-powered tools by 2028. However, 78 percent say that lack of knowledge of how to implement an AI training program is keeping them from providing AI training to employees. Additionally, healthcare sector employers ranked the lowest in terms of prioritizing hiring AI talent compared to other sectors, with only 53 percent indicating that hiring AI talent is either “somewhat a priority” or a “major priority” for their organization. This was compared to employers in financial services, where the number was 83 percent; government services, where the number was 80 percent; and education, where the number was 63 percent.

Without a clear plan to hire or train AI talent, it’s no surprise that employees in the healthcare sector report the lowest share of respondents, at just 9 percent, with “advanced” AI fluency of all industries surveyed. As AI solutions proliferate in the healthcare space, the industry needs a plan to prepare its workforce to take advantage of these new technologies.

Bridging the gap

To address this, Amazon announced the AI Ready initiative to provide free skills training in AI, including generative AI, to 2 million people worldwide by 2025. Training the healthcare industry—including clinicians, support staff, and IT staff—on AI tools can ultimately drive better decision-making, improve the effectiveness of organizations, and increase satisfaction among employees and patients. And there’s strong incentive to do so. On average, across all departments, healthcare employers said they are willing to pay up to 33 percent more for AI-skilled employees. Upskilling programs for existing employees can also ensure that healthcare organizations are not left competing with one another to hire from a coveted pool of AI talent.

The Amazon AI Ready offerings complement existing AWS programs to help upskill and support the healthcare workforce, including AWS Industry Quest: Healthcare, a unique, game-based learning experience set in a virtual hospital giving learners the opportunity to build skills by solving challenges. Assignments include deriving artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML)-driven insights from healthcare data, achieving healthcare interoperability, simplifying and automating prior authorization forms, and more. Learners can choose from 25 solution building assignments developed with input from AWS customers, and then learn, practice, build, and verify their understanding of the solution live. The following image is a screenshot of AWS Industry Quest: Healthcare, showing an example of one of the 25 learning modules, in this case, using AI for medical diagnosis.

Figure 1. A screenshot from AWS Industry Quest: Healthcare, which helps users learn about using cloud-based solutions for healthcare like AI to assist with diagnosis, predicting readmission risk, and monitoring HIPAA compliance.

AWS also offers healthcare-specific Skill Builder courses for various roles across the healthcare ecosystem, such as Cloud Essentials for Business Leaders – Healthcare and Life Sciences, AWS Cloud Economics for Healthcare, and Introduction to the Cloud for Clinicians. These offerings are already being used by customers such as AlayaCare and Hospital Sírio-Libanês in Brazil to upskill their workforces.


This new survey data underscores current gaps in AI skills among many working in healthcare, despite recognition of the technology’s significant impact.

We’re seeing exciting advancements every day—especially with the explosion of generative AI. For example, Hurone AI is using Amazon Bedrock to build applications for oncology care, HOPPR is working with AWS on its multi-modal foundation model for medical imaging, and 3M Health Information Systems is using generative AI through AWS HealthScribe to reduce burnout. As AI takes hold, more healthcare organizations need talent that can help them advance their missions and patient outcomes.

By partnering with technology leaders like AWS and providing those working in healthcare with AI training, we can show that current use of AI is merely scratching the surface of its full potential. To get started, learn more about AWS’s free AI training and explore AWS’s healthcare-specific training. Visit the AWS for Healthcare and Life Sciences homepage to learn more about our industry-specific support.

Dr. Rowland Illing

Dr. Rowland Illing

Dr. Rowland Illing is chief medical officer and director of global healthcare and nonprofits for Amazon Web Services (AWS), responsible for strategy and engagement across customers including providers, payors, and health technology companies. He is particularly focused on technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), and how they can drive efficiency, health equity, sustainability, and improved patient outcomes. Dr. Illing is an academic interventional radiologist by training. He is an honorary associate professor at University College London, a fellow of the Royal College of Radiologists and the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management in the UK, as well as a member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, the Digital Health Roster of Experts for the World Health Organization (WHO), and the European AI Alliance for the European Commission.