How Should Artificial Intelligence Be Used in Primary Care?

19 Jun 2023 • A qualitative study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine gathered a diverse group of primary care physicians, patients, and other healthcare professionals, including health system leaders, to set out the priorities of AI when applied to the primary care setting.

The authors identified the following three themes: (1) priority applications of AI in primary care, (2) the impact of AI on the roles of primary care providers, and (3) considerations for training healthcare providers in AI.

Priority Applications

  • Patients and providers agreed that AI applications that are of the highest priority in primary care involve support for clinical documentation, practice operations, and triage, as well as support for clinical decision-making
  • However, patients and providers displayed some amount of apprehension owing to unresolved problems of algorithmic bias and the current scarcity of evidence concerning the safety and efficacy of AI.

Affecting Provider Roles

  • Regarding the impact of AI on the roles of healthcare providers, most patients and providers were unconvinced that AI will ever fully replace providers, especially in the context of clinical decision-making. This skepticism arose from the idea that the patient-provider relationship is intrinsically human and is at once the defining feature and enabling mechanism of patient-centered primary care.

Healthcare Provider Training

  • Regarding AI and its impact on doctor training and skills instruction, there was widespread concern about the fact that future generations of providers could fall victim to deskilling (ie, declining proficiency over time resulting from automation of tasks)

The overall findings offer an agenda for applying AI in primary care that is grounded in the shared values of patients and providers. The authors of the research propose a new paradigm in which, from the conception phase, AI developers work with interdisciplinary teams that engage primary-care end users as design partners to develop AI-driven tools that respond to patients' and providers' most pressing, unmet needs.

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Source: Medscape | Read full story

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