AMA: Physicians Enthusiastic but Cautious About Healthcare AI


December 14, 2023 — Physicians are enthusiastic about augmented intelligence (AI) – often called artificial intelligence – and its assistive role in health care that enhances human intelligence rather than replaces it, according to a new physician survey by the American Medical Association (AMA). However, the survey findings show we are at a critical juncture with an equal number of physicians excited and concerned about the potential for AI. The survey provides deep insight into physician sentiment towards health care AI, including motivations, opportunities, concerns, requirements, and current uses of health care AI.

“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,” said AMA President Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, M.D., M.P.H. who is board certified in both anesthesiology and clinical informatics. “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.”

The AMA’s Augmented Intelligence Research surveyed 1,081 physicians in August 2023 to investigate the sentiment of practicing physicians regarding the increase usage of AI in health care. The physician sentiments identified in the AMA survey provide insider knowledge to build AI tools around meeting the current needs and requirements of clinicians.

Among the key findings, the physician survey showed:

  • The potential for health care AI has 41% of physicians equally excited and concerned.
  • Enthusiasm was highest for AI tools that help reduce administrative burdens, including documentation (54%) and prior authorization (48%).
  • AI tools were most helpful for enhancing diagnostic ability (72%), workflow efficiency (69%) and clinical outcomes (61%).
  • Concern was highest for AI tools that impact the patient-physicians relationship (39%) and patient privacy (41%).
  • The top attributes required to advance physician adoption of AI tools were data privacy assurances (87%) and not being held liable for AI model errors (87%).
  • AI tools were in use by 38% of physicians with the most common uses including: creation of discharge instructions, care plans, or progress notes (14%), documentation of billing codes, medical charts or visit notes (13%), translation services (11%), and assistive diagnosis (11%).
  • Transparency is key for AI tools with about 80% of physicians indicated they want clear information about key characteristics and features regarding the design, development, and deployment of AI tools.

The AMA’s work continues to support the development of high-quality, clinically validated AI that is deployed in a responsible, ethical, and transparent manner with patient safety being the first and foremost concern. The AMA is dedicated to shaping a future that ensures only safe, high-quality, and unbiased AI products are brought to market and has issued a new set of AI principles to guide the responsible development and deployment and use of AI, ensuring that these technologies contribute positively to the future of health care.

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