Healthcare workers are ready (and keen) for an AI revolution

Healthcare workers are ready (and keen) for an AI revolution

A new wave of medical professionals is emerging with a growing appetite for artificial intelligence, research has claimed.

A study by Elsevier found an overwhelming majority (nearly nine in 10) of medical and nursing students in the UK feel devoted to improving patients’ lives, but there are numerous challenges getting in the way of their long-term career decisions.

Three-quarters (75%) report being concerned about staff shortages, while nearly two-thirds (64%) believe that they will suffer from clinician burnout.

Healthcare is overdue an AI makeover

More than half (57%) of the UK students surveyed said that they were worried about their mental wellbeing in the industry. These challenges are fuelled by a variety of factors, including increased demands and dwindling budgets.

In the UK, 53% of medical and nursing students said they were excited about the possibilities of AI for their studies, and 44% said they had already used tools like ChatGPT or Bard for their education.

Despite the clear hunger for such tools, three-quarters (76%) were concerned with the current amount of misinformation about science and healthcare. The use of non-human tools presents a risk of getting the information wrong, even after being trained on billions of parameters.

Outside of education, clinical decisions and treatment management are expected to benefit from generative AI, said the students, but there’s a catch.

Speaking specifically about remote consultations, seven in 10 expressed concern about being able to demonstrate empathy with patients. It’s clear that AI tools must be carefully selected to support workers in doing their best work.

General Practitioner and Educational Lead, Dr Philip Xiu, offered his thoughts on how Britain could begin to tackle its waiting list of around 7.75 million:

“Doubling enrolment won’t resolve looming workforce shortages if issues impeding student wellness go unresolved. We must equip them with critical thinking to aid sound clinical decisions, and partnership skills to involve patients meaningfully in care.”

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Craig Hale

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