Healthcare in the age of AI: How will artificial intelligence impact future decision-making?

AI computer chip mock up

Artificial intelligence (AI) has recently surged in popularity, thanks in part to innovations like ChatGPT, which represents a significant step towards generating human-like text from simple prompts. In the healthcare sector, AI’s advancement has begun to impact prescribing, particularly in addressing the growing challenge of antimicrobial resistance. A pivotal study in 2023 has revealed that an AI model produced better therapeutic outcomes than prescriptions written by doctors.

However, AI models such as ChatGPT have their limitations, including deficiencies in mathematical capabilities and a restricted knowledge scope, limited to data available up to 2021. Furthermore, they carry a substantial risk of generating false information. This raises a fundamental question: where does AI acquire its learning? A 2023 Pew Research study has highlighted the concerns of many US patients regarding AI-driven robots in surgical procedures and the security of AI in managing health records. Given these current apprehensions surrounding AI, researchers have emphasised the critical need to combine AI with human expertise.

To navigate through these complexities, we have been investigating how AI is transforming the prescribing process and its impact on patient outcomes and healthcare costs. To achieve this, we recently collaborated with Medefield to conduct a survey involving 177 general practitioners (GPs) across the United States, France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Additionally, we surveyed 14 payers from Research Partnership’s global payer network in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK.

Current AI usage, perceptions, and prospects of AI adoption

Our findings reveal that, in Europe, 40% of GPs have never utilised AI tools to assist in their prescribing practices. In the US, the adoption of AI is even lower, with 60% of GPs not using AI at all. Moreover, their perceptions of AI’s role in supporting prescription practices vary significantly, with European GPs generally holding a more favourable view compared to their US counterparts. Conversely, European payers hold even more positive perceptions than both European and US GPs (see Figure 1).

• Read the full article in pharmaphorum's Deep Dive digital magazine

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15 January, 2024