Why CIOs Believe Patients Could Warm Up With Clinical AI


Hospitals are increasingly turning to artificial intelligence-based tools to streamline workflows and support clinical decision-making, but not all patients are convinced by the technology.

Researchers from University Park, Pennsylvania, Penn State, and the University of California, Santa Barbara designed five chatbots for a study of 295 participants and paired them with either a human doctor, an AI chatbot, or an AI-assisted doctor.

The study’s results, published in May, showed that when AI chatbots used a patient’s first name and referred to their medical history, study participants were more likely to find the bot intrusive and less likely to follow the bot’s medical advice.

“Many patients feel that the AI ​​does not take into account their unique characteristics and circumstances,” Zafar Chaudry, MD, senior vice president and CIO at Seattle Children’s told Becker’s. “However, AI-based medical tools are primarily used to support decision-making and have proven to be professional,” he says.

Dr. Chaudry pointed out that the tools could bring significant patient benefits, including better access to health care, early disease detection and lower health care costs.

Still, many patients feel that they cannot trust the technology as much as they trust their doctor, who has gone through years of training and education to qualify to care for patients.

Replicating clinicians’ thought processes results in complex neural networks that require vast amounts of data for training and years of pilot studies, said Myra Davis, chief information innovation officer at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.

“Rest assured, the creation of these complex neural networks that power the AI-powered medical tools in question is being created by the clinicians themselves,” said Ms. Davis.

She also pointed out that AI-powered health tools take great advantage of data. If properly trained with enough EHR data, they can make high-accuracy diagnoses and recommend treatments.

According to Ms. Davis, patients should also feel more confident about clinical AI tools knowing they are going through various quality assurance and FDA approval processes.

“AI in healthcare is an emerging and exciting field that will lead to more informed decisions that, when used correctly, will improve the health of the population,” she said.


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