Lina Mosch, Daniel Fürstenau, Jenny Brandt, Jasper Wagnitz, Sophie Ai Klopfenstein, Akira-Sebastian Poncette, Felix Balzer
Digit Health . 2022 Dec 13;8:20552076221143903. doi: 10.1177/20552076221143903. eCollection 2022 Jan-Dec.
Background: Healthcaare delivery will change through the increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI). Physicians are likely to be among the professions most affected, though to what extent is not yet clear.
Objective: We analyzed physicians' and AI experts' stances towards AI-induced changes. This concerned (1) physicians' tasks, (2) job replacement risk, and (3) implications for the ways of working, including human-AI interaction, changes in job profiles, and hierarchical and cross-professional collaboration patterns.
Methods: We adopted an exploratory, qualitative research approach, using semi-structured interviews with 24 experts in the fields of AI and medicine, medical informatics, digital medicine, and medical education and training. Thematic analysis of the interview transcripts was performed.
Results: Specialized tasks currently performed by physicians in all areas of medicine would likely be taken over by AI, including bureaucratic tasks, clinical decision support, and research. However, the concern that physicians will be replaced by an AI system is unfounded, according to experts; AI systems today would be designed only for a specific use case and could not replace the human factor in the patient-physician relationship. Nevertheless, the job profile and professional role of physicians would be transformed as a result of new forms of human-AI collaboration and shifts to higher-value activities. AI could spur novel, more interprofessional teams in medical practice and research and, eventually, democratization and de-hierarchization.
Conclusions: The study highlights changes in job profiles of physicians and outlines demands for new categories of medical professionals considering AI-induced changes of work. Physicians should redefine their self-image and assume more responsibility in the age of AI-supported medicine. There is a need for the development of scenarios and concepts for future job profiles in the health professions as well as their education and training.