Physicians enthusiastic about how AI can help with digital diagnostics

Three in four clinicians say they think artificial intelligence can facilitate improvements in workflow efficiency and quality assurance in pathology, a new survey shows.
By Nathan Eddy
11:02 AM
Share

Physicians worldwide have generally positive attitudes towards the use of artificial intelligence in healthcare, according to a new survey of nearly 500 pathologists practicing in 54 countries.

WHY IT MATTERS
The survey, published in Nature, indicated physicians believe AI-based diagnostic platforms could be used to improve the predictive and prognostic power of traditional pathology approaches.

Nearly three-quarters of physicians surveyed reported interest or excitement in AI as a diagnostic tool to facilitate improvements in workflow efficiency and quality assurance in pathology.

Many respondents felt that with appropriate training, AI tools could increase (58 percent) or even dramatically increase (66 percent) diagnostic efficiency.

With regards to ease of uptake and implementation, more than a fifth (22 percent) of respondents felt AI tools would be relatively intuitive with little need for training, while 41 percent felt training from a platform representative would be of help.

The report suggested early efforts to implement educational presentations and formalized workshops could help to ease anxiety, increase awareness, and hopefully permit valuable pathologist-input into design and integration approaches.

From a marketing perspective, the data suggest platform developers should need to focus on demonstrating efficacy and safety of their technology, with little need to persuade pathologists that AI is a useful tool for their practices.

However a significant number of respondents endorsed concerns about AI, including the potential for job displacement and replacement, while around 80 percent of respondents predicted the introduction of AI technology in the pathology laboratory within the coming decade.

The survey also indicated there is a need for increasing efforts towards physician training, as well as resolving medical-legal implications prior to the generalized implementation of AI in pathology.

THE LARGER TREND
The use of AI in the healthcare industry is expanding rapidly, on both the clinical and operational sides. Just this week Premier Health announced it is working on a research pilot study with Bio Conscious Technologies to deliver artificial intelligence to Premier Health’s patient base.

Earlier in the month the Radiological Society of North America released a report outlining the opportunities and challenges AI could have for digital imaging, while VisiQuate has partnered with Etyon Health on a suite of AI-powered revenue cycle management applications.

Amid all the promise AI brings, healthcare payers and providers must move quickly to ensure they have the right talent and data to succeed, according to a March report from Boston Consulting Group.

The report noted that for healthcare providers, AI-driven resource scheduling, coding, and billing would improve operational efficiency, AI would yield major efficiencies in claims handling and other operations for payers, including improved fraud, waste, and abuse detection.

ON THE RECORD
"Most respondents envision the eventual implementation of AI-tools as decision support tools used by human diagnosticians, not in place of," the Nature report noted. "There appears to be general enthusiasm amongst respondents for the use of AI as a diagnostic tool in pathology practice, and concern about impacts on job security is relatively low."

Nathan Eddy is a healthcare and technology freelancer based in Berlin.

Email the writer: nathaneddy@gmail.com

Twitter: @dropdeaded209 

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.