Dec 13, 2023 - Health

Patients worry about how doctors may be using AI: survey

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Illustration: Tiffany Herring/Axios

The vast majority of American patients are wary of how their doctor may use generative AI to help treat them, according to a new Wolters Kluwer Health survey.

Why it matters: The technology is still in limited use in physician offices — mostly to help with administrative tasks — but one day may help doctors make diagnoses or develop care plans.

  • The information services company's new survey indicates that transparency about where the information churned out by generative AI comes from can help reduce patients' worries.

By the numbers: Roughly 4 in 5 say they have concerns about their provider using generative AI to make diagnoses or set treatment, with the vast majority saying that's because they don't know where the information the tech uses comes from or why it should be trusted.

  • Roughly half say they're concerned generative AI might produce false information, while 8 in 10 said they worry the information may come from unfiltered internet searches.
  • While about 80% said they were concerned about their providers using the technology, that dropped to 63% if they knew their doctor was using a tool that came from an established health care source that was constantly being updated.
  • 86% said they would need to know medical professionals were involved in the process of creating source content to feel comfortable with their doctor using generative AI.

What they're saying: "As the health care community begins implementing GenAI applications, they must first understand and address the concerns Americans have about it being used in their care," said Greg Samios, CEO of clinical effectiveness at Wolters Kluwer Health.

Bottom line: Americans know this technology is coming to their doctor's office and they see the potential benefits. But they want to know exactly when and how this tech is being used — and why they should trust it.

Go deeper: Majority of doctors worry about AI driving clinical decisions, survey shows

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