Artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities have been rapidly advancing, and have catapulted into the public awareness with the launch of AI Chatbots such as ChatGPT. These tools have the capacity to revolutionize healthcare and the entire life sciences industry. In recent months, there have been many publications and much hype around potential applications for AI in the healthcare industry. ZoomRx has previously discussed how Ferma.AI can be paired with Chatbots like ChatGPT to support pharma team decision making in a wide range of applications, including medical conference coverage.
Much of the public conversation around these applications has been driven by tech experts, academics, and pharmaceutical stakeholders. However, the stakeholders who will truly determine the extent of AI Chatbot incorporation into the healthcare system are likely to be practicing HCPs. ZoomRx believes that the customer voice has been under-represented in these discussions to date. In order to change this, we leveraged our panel of >35k practicing HCPs to assess HCPs’ current relationship with AI Chatbots and AI technology as well as their expectations and apprehensions about the use of AI in patient care. Our study surveyed a total of 120 HCPs across Cardiology, Neurology, Primary care, Immunology/Rheumatology, and Oncology from March 21, 2023 to March 27, 2023.
HCPs are aware of AI Chatbots, but very few have direct experience
We found that approximately 80% of HCPs are aware of AI Chatbots, with 90% of those physicians aware of ChatGPT, but less than 15% of MDs currently use it and almost 40% indicate they will not use ChatGPT or any similar AI in future patient care.
Of all specialties surveyed, primary care physicians are most optimistic about AI Chatbots, with 93% of PCPs reporting that AI Chatbots will provide some kind of benefit to their practice, primarily via drafting prior authorizations, helping patients with questions, and recommending treatments. PCPs are likely the most optimistic about AI Chatbots because they treat a large number of conditions and have to stay up-to-date on the latest treatment for each condition making it hard for them to stay organized. As indicated in the survey responses, AI Chatbots would assist them in better organizing information and could quickly provide potential treatment options given a patient's symptoms.
HCPs believe that there are benefits to using AI Chatbots
Despite the current lack of adoption, 88% of HCPs across specialties believe that AI Chatbots could bring some benefits to their practice. The primary benefits cited are in information management and automating tedious tasks, including summarizing clinical trials and scientific journals (53%), drafting prior authorizations (48%), and summarizing patient medical records (43%).
“the ability to source multiple databases and provide comprehensive answers to clinical questions… this will be particularly helpful for rare diseases”
Some MDs also indicated that AI could be used as a tool to help identify abnormalities in images or other tests as well as speed up their ability to learn more about rare diseases. By using AI as a tool to inform healthcare decisions, HCPs will be able to be more knowledgeable and prompt in their response to patients, ultimately enhancing the care that they provide.
“I'm not sure it will replace physician judgment, although I could see a role in identifying imaging abnormalities such as pulmonary nodules or perhaps discrete electrocardiographic signs that might go unnoticed”
HCPs are concerned about AI Chatbots providing false or misguided information
Of course, there are concerns among HCPs about using this technology, particularly regarding patient use. Our survey found that the number one concern among HCPs is the risk of erroneous or inaccurate information (79%).
“My concern would be the accuracy of it in the ability to fact-check in particular”
“... it might provide wrong information as the authors alluded to the fact that it sometimes could produce good-sounding information but that might be inaccurate.”
HCPs are uncertain if increased use of AI Chatbots will lead to better health outcomes
Overall, most HCPs are undecided about whether increased use of AI chatbots among Patients, HCPs, and Life Science Companies will lead to better or worse health outcomes for patients. They are more optimistic about an increased use of AI among Life Sciences companies leading to better health outcomes, but are pessimistic about patients.
In regard to patient outcomes, HCPs predict that patients will rely on AI Chatbots like they do WebMD to self diagnose and learn more about their disease. However, HCPs fear an over-reliance of patients on AI Chatbots, leading to unwarranted confidence and a lower likelihood of seeking physician advice.
“Patients may increasingly use AI chatbots to ask questions that they have top of mind with reliance upon the information and I hope that it is accurate. They may increasingly use this information to guide clinical decisions instead of contacting their healthcare team.”
AI Chatbots will lower the administrative burden of HCPs and will enhance the care that HCPs provide
While a level of caution regarding the use of new technologies is a responsible approach for physicians, we at ZoomRx believe that AI Chatbots and AI more broadly are poised to have a far greater impact on healthcare than HCPs have reported anticipating.
For example, while HCPs see a benefit in AI being able to assist with administrative tasks like filling our prior authorizations, we believe AI Chatbots have the potential to overhaul the entire interface between patients, manufactures, and payers. We envision a world in which patients simply describe their situation and desires to an AI model. The AI Chatbot would then not only find the right information for them, but also fill out paperwork, submit it to their HCP, and notify their HCP and the appropriate payer that the task is complete - simultaneously reducing administrative burden on the patient, HCP, and payer.
As another example, HCPs reported synthesizing patient medical records as a likely use case for AI Chatbots. ZoomRx envisions AI Chatbots revolutionizing the entire disease diagnosis and prevention pathway. AI Chatbots will soon have the ability to combine patient histories, lab results, imaging, genetic testing, physician notes, and more. This information can be used not only to diagnose, but to predict disease susceptibility and schedule preventative visits before either the medical provider or the patient are aware of the presence or risk of a medical condition. The AI Chatbot could also scan clinical trials, journal articles, and conference presentations to suggest potential lines of treatment.
Overall, while there are important concerns associated with using ChatGPT and other AI Chatbots in medical practice, the potential for AI in healthcare is immense. All stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem, including HCPs, require further education on both the potential and risks of this emerging technology. It will also be critical to better integrate both the HCP and patient voice into development of these technologies to ensure that AI Chatbots are enhancing the HCP-patient relationship, rather than obstructing it.
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