American physicians have mixed feelings on the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) into mainstream medical practice, a new survey shows.
The survey of nearly 1,100 doctors, conducted by the American Medical Association (AMA) in August, found 41% of physicians saying they were “equally excited and concerned” about AI in the workplace.
“Physicians are optimistic about the advantages that properly designed AI-enabled tools can have for patient care, and nearly two-thirds of physicians see an advantage to AI if key requirements are met,” AMA President Jesse Ehrenfeld said in an AMA news release. “The AMA survey illustrates that physicians’ greatest hope for AI rests in reducing the crushing administrative burdens that plague modern medicine, which drain health care resources and pull physicians away from patient care.”
That’s the “up” side, according to the poll: Sixty-nine percent of doctors thought AI would help with workflow efficiency during their busy days; another 54% said they were enthusiastic about AI that might ease the burden around “documentation;” and another 48% hoped it might cut down on the red tape of prior authorization for insurance coverage.
As for actual patient care, 72% thought AI could be helpful in better diagnosing patients, and 61% hoped it might help improve clinical outcomes for patients.
Worries around AI centered on its impact on patient-doctor interactions, with 39% of doctors concerned the technology might harm that relationship. Another 41% had concerns about AI’s impact on patient privacy.
AI is already making inroads in hospitals and doctors’ office, the AMA survey found: More than a third (38%) of physicians said they were already using it.
While only 11% said they’d used it to so far to help with diagnosis, larger percentages said they’d used AI to help with office paperwork or translation services.