Sermo Barometer of Healthcare Leaders Finds 2024 Will Not Be the Year of AI in Hospitals & Health Systems

Addressing Staffing Shortages Key Priority for Healthcare Leaders in 2024

New York, NY – The 32nd Barometer survey from Sermo, an online physician and provider community and leader in healthcare insights, of 100+ U.S. healthcare decision-makers working in hospitals or healthcare facilities found that while interest in AI and machine learning is high, they have a long way to go to leverage it successfully. Nearly half (45%) of these executives report they are actively following trends in AI and machine learning in the industry, yet only 25% have implemented AI/machine learning in their organization. 1 in 5 (21%) of surveyed healthcare leaders feel that significant opportunities are being missed to implement emerging AI applications. 

Healthcare leaders are taking a long view on AI’s ability to impact their organizations positively. 91% of healthcare leaders surveyed believe that AI/machine learning will be an integral part of their organization’s growth and success in five years or beyond. Only a third (33%) of those surveyed believe that AI will have an impact on organizational success within the next year. 

Current AI IntegrationForecasted AI Integration in the Next 5 Years
Electronic health records management 23%71%
Predictive analytics20%71%
Virtual Health Assistance13%64%
Medical Imaging21%62%

Respondents’ vision for medical imaging and diagnostics complements the industry’s focus given the FDA has now approved nearly 700 medical devices that incorporate AI/machine learning with the majority being cleared for radiology. 

The Escalating Challenge of Staff Shortages: 

While AI might be all the rage, staffing shortages are the top-of-mind priority for healthcare leaders. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, there will be an estimated shortage of between 37,800 and 124,000 physicians by 2034 in the U.S. alone. And, the American Hospital Association reports there is currently an overall shortage of 1.1M nurses. 56% of healthcare leaders reported that physicians and specialists continue to be the top staffing challenge, followed by 47% struggling to staff NPs/PAs, and 46% struggling to staff laboratory personnel. Healthcare leaders don’t see technology as a solution as only 17% reported that they are looking to automate tasks with technology to help solve these challenges. 

“We consistently hear from our physician and provider community about the negative impacts of staffing shortages,” said Erin Fitzgerald, CMO at Sermo. “When tapping into our expert community of healthcare decision-makers in this Barometer, a common thread emerges – despite the excitement surrounding AI’s potential applications in hospitals and health systems, staffing remains, and will persist as, the foremost priority.”

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the number of applicants to medical schools declined by 4.7% compared to the previous year. Healthcare leaders see collaborations with schools and training programs as key to helping solve their staffing challenges as reported by 44% of respondents.

Organizational Priorities & Challenges for Healthcare Leaders:

  • Shifting Care Settings: Healthcare leaders anticipate additional investment in outpatient care as a way to optimize resources and outcomes for their hospitals as reported by 83% of respondents, followed by shifts to telehealth (75%), and home-based care (73%).
  • Competitor Differentiation: nearly half (48%) of healthcare leaders said investing in services to differentiate their organization from the local competition, making it the most popular priority. 
  • System-Wide Technology Implementation: 31% reported that they feel poorly equipped to train staff on the adoption of new technologies and 42% feel poorly equipped to demonstrate ROI on new technologies. 
  • Electronic Unification: Integration with existing organizational healthcare systems continues to be a challenge for a third (36%) of healthcare leaders as is interoperability with other healthcare facilities/networks (33%).
  • Staying in the Know: When asked how they stay informed about emerging technology for their hospital, healthcare leaders feel that networking with peers is the most helpful (68%), followed by vendor relationships (66%), and industry events (54%).

This survey was fielded between December 15th – January 2nd as the 32nd edition of Sermo’s ongoing Barometer survey. The survey included 100 U.S.-based healthcare leaders who are decision-makers at the management or executive level working for a hospital or healthcare facility ranging from standalone community hospitals, multi-facility health systems, single hospital health systems, academic medical centers, independently owned hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, and long-term care facilities. To explore more findings, visit: 

About Sermo:

Sermo is the largest global healthcare research company and the most trusted physician and provider engagement platform. Sermo engages with more than 1.4 million HCPs across 150 countries and has reach into the U.S. Payer market that now exceeds 230M commercial lives covered.

For over 20 years, Sermo has been turning physician experience, expertise, and observations into actionable business insights that benefit pharmaceutical companies, healthcare partners, and the medical community at large. Sermo offers on-demand access to HCPs via a proprietary health-tech ecosystem to gain targeted HCP insights that inform strategic decisioning in real-time. To learn more, visit

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