Myriad of Issues Facing Adoption of AI in Healthcare
Ronald M. Razmi, MD
January 25, 2022
According to a survey of over 12,000 participants conducted by the consultancy PwC, lack of trust and a need for the human element were the biggest hurdles to using AI in healthcare. Another survey by KPMG in 2020 revealed a number of areas of concern for healthcare executives in regards to AI . One is in the area of talent. To date, only 47 percent of healthcare insiders say their organizations offer AI training courses to employees, which is substantially lower than some of the other industries surveyed. Perhaps as a result, just 67 percent of healthcare insiders say their employees support AI adoption, the lowest ranking of any industry. Building an AI-ready workforce requires a wholesale change in the approach to training and how to acquire talent. Having people who understand how AI can solve big, complex problems is critical.
Another major barrier is cost. Not long ago, healthcare systems were required to make significant capital investments to meet electronic health records requirements. Boosting those IT budgets to get AI off the ground requires even more of an investment, and insiders who may already feel budget-burdened due to COVID may be slower to allocate full funding for AI.
Perhaps this explains why more than half of executives – 54 percent – believe that AI to date has actually increased rather than decreased the overall cost of healthcare. Healthcare decision-makers are still struggling to determine where to place their AI best bets. The question is where do they put their AI efforts to get the greatest gain for the business? Trying to assess what ROI will look like is a very relevant point as they embark on their AI journey. 75% of respondents are concerned that AI could threaten the security and privacy of patient data, 86% of respondents say their organizations are taking care to protect patient privacy as it implements
Another major group of stakeholders are also skeptical of the use of AI in healthcare. Only 20% of physicians saying AI has changed the way they practice medicine, according to a recent survey. In fact, the majority of physicians are anxious or uncomfortable with AI, according to Medscape’s survey of 1,500 doctors across Europe, Latin America and the U.S. Physicians in the U.S. voiced the most skepticism (49%), while 35% of physicians in Europe said they are uncomfortable with AI and 30% of physicians in Latin America said the same.
The survey also found that physicians are more comfortable with using AI-powered tools in their personal lives—50% of U.S. physicians use Google Home, Alexa or something similar—but only 7% use it for professional purposes. Adoption numbers are even lower in Europe.