AI and the Future of Healthcare — Peter W. McCauley, Sr.

Inspiration And Insights
4 min readSep 15, 2023
Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

In a landscape where technological advancements are reshaping industries at an unprecedented pace, the healthcare sector is no exception. A recent Tebra study, “Perceptions of AI in healthcare,” sheds light on the evolving attitudes of patients and providers towards the utilization of AI technology in medical practices. This study, echoing sentiments from both healthcare professionals and patients, reinforces the notion that AI is not just a novel concept, but a powerful tool that can significantly enhance patient care.

The Tebra study’s findings resonate with what I have observed in my own practice. The survey revealed a remarkable statistic: 8 out of 10 Americans believe that AI holds the promise to elevate healthcare quality, reduce costs, and increase accessibility. This belief is not unwarranted. Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) integrate with GenAI to streamline administrative tasks, enhance diagnostic accuracy, and improve patient safety in prescribing medications. The result? Improved efficiency in charting and order entry, allowing me to devote more time to direct patient care, and a reduction in medication-related errors through AI-assisted prescribing.

Of note in the Tebra study is the growing acceptance of AI-powered solutions among healthcare professionals. The report highlights that 1 in 10 healthcare professionals are already employing AI technologies in their practice, with nearly half expressing intentions to adopt these technologies in the near future. This indicates a shifting paradigm in healthcare towards embracing AI as a collaborative partner in patient care. This sentiment is further supported by the finding that after engaging with AI-generated medical advice, 95% of healthcare professionals reported a more positive outlook.

An intriguing revelation is the preference some patients exhibit towards GenAI-powered chatbots for certain aspects of care. Surprisingly, 1 in 4 patients showed a greater inclination to converse with a chatbot rather than attend therapy sessions. Among those who sought therapy advice from GenAI, a substantial 80% found it to be an effective alternative. This underlines the potential of AI in providing mental health support and counseling, supplementing the conventional therapeutic approaches.

Despite these promising trends, it’s vital to acknowledge the lingering apprehensions. A significant proportion of patients — 53%, to be precise — view AI as a tool that should augment rather than replace healthcare providers. Moreover, 43% of patients express a preference for human interaction and the human touch in healthcare, indicating that while AI can streamline processes, the human connection remains paramount.

One of the prime concerns raised in the survey is the accuracy of GenAI-generated diagnoses and treatment recommendations. Almost half of the respondents — both patients and professionals — worry that GenAI might not yet possess the capability to diagnose and treat health conditions with the same precision as human experts.

This sentiment aligns with my own perspective; AI should be integrated into healthcare as a supportive tool that enhances the skills and expertise of medical professionals. As we stride forward into an era of technological transformation, it’s essential to recognize GenAI’s potential while respecting the enduring importance of the human touch in healthcare. The future of medicine lies in a harmonious partnership between AI and healthcare professionals, each complementing the strengths of the other to provide comprehensive, patient-centered care. With the right ethical guidelines and a commitment to innovation, we can harness the power of GenAI to unlock new frontiers in healthcare delivery, ultimately improving the quality of life for our patients.

To read the full Tebra study, click here

Peter W. McCauley, Sr. has a 30 year track record of profitable, inclusive health care leadership. He is a well-respected, actively practicing pediatrician serving Chicago’s far south side for over 25 years. His expertise in value-based health care, combined with the ability to lead and influence provider groups and hospital systems to adopt this reimbursement model vs. standard fee for service, helps to improve quality outcomes for patients while making health care more affordable for all.

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