Readiness to Embrace Artificial Intelligence Among Medical Doctors and Students: Questionnaire-Based Study
Nawaz, Faisal A
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Background: Similar to understanding how blood pressure is measured by a sphygmomanometer, physicians will soon have to understand how an artificial intelligence–based application has come to the conclusion that a patient has hypertension, diabetes, or cancer. Although there are an increasing number of use cases where artificial intelligence is or can be applied to improve medical outcomes, the extent to which medical doctors and students are ready to work and leverage this paradigm is unclear. Objective: This research aims to capture medical students’ and doctors’ level of familiarity toward artificial intelligence in medicine as well as their challenges, barriers, and potential risks linked to the democratization of this new paradigm. Methods: A web-based questionnaire comprising five dimensions—demographics, concepts and definitions, training and education, implementation, and risks—was systematically designed from a literature search. It was completed by 207 participants in total, of which 105 (50.7%) medical doctors and 102 (49.3%) medical students trained in all continents, with most of them in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and North America. Results: The results revealed no significant difference in the familiarity of artificial intelligence between medical doctors and students (P=.91), except that medical students perceived artificial intelligence in medicine to lead to higher risks for patients and the field of medicine in general (P<.001). We also identified a rather low level of familiarity with artificial intelligence (medical students=2.11/5; medical doctors=2.06/5) as well as a low attendance to education or training. Only 2.9% (3/105) of medical doctors attended a course on artificial intelligence within the previous year, compared with 9.8% (10/102) of medical students. The complexity of the field of medicine was considered one of the biggest challenges (medical doctors=3.5/5; medical students=3.8/5), whereas the reduction of physicians’skills was the most important risk (medical doctors=3.3; medical students=3.6; P=.03). Conclusions: The question is not whether artificial intelligence will be used in medicine, but when it will become a standard practice for optimizing health care. The low level of familiarity with artificial intelligence identified in this study calls for the implementation of specific education and training in medical schools and hospitals to ensure that medical professionals can leverage this new paradigm and improve health outcomes.