Survey: How healthcare professionals benefit from AI
Munich, 25 April 2023
Artificial Intelligence (AI) can relieve healthcare workers and improve patient care. Medical and nursing professionals are generally open to the use of the technology, but demand technical and organizational changes in everyday inpatient and outpatient work so that patients and specialist staff can benefit from AI systems. This is the result of a qualitative survey of healthcare professionals conducted by Plattform Lernende Systeme which was presented today at the DMEA healthcare trade fair in Berlin.
The shortage of skilled workers, constant overwork among healthcare workers and inadequate pay for many caregivers are leading to a shortage of skilled personnel in hospitals, nursing homes and doctors’ offices. AI applications could help address the shortage of qualified staff and increase employee satisfaction, according to the white paper “AI for Healthcare Professionals. Opportunities and challenges of medical and nursing applications.”
Professionals open to AI use
For the white paper, experts from Plattform Lernende Systeme used a multi-stage qualitative process to survey healthcare professionals on the opportunities, challenges and necessary prerequisites for AI use in healthcare and, on this basis, formulated recommendations for successful AI introduction. The majority of respondents were open to AI. They associate the technology with the hope that AI support will enable them to devote more time to patients. For example, healthcare professionals can be relieved of time-consuming routine activities with the help of AI, for example by automating administrative processes and documentation tasks.
According to the professionals surveyed, AI applications for radiology in particular contribute to improving patient care. Other examples of use, according to the authors of the white paper, include support in diagnosis and therapy decisions, intelligent rollators for rehabilitation patients, and predictions of the possible rejection of kidney transplants. They expect AI to make medical diagnoses more precise, individualize treatment methods and improve nursing care.
“If we want to leverage the potential of AI for healthcare, we need to listen to the perspectives of professionals so we don’t miss the reality of work. Our survey showed that healthcare professionals are open to AI systems that make their day-to-day work easier. But they are demanding that employers, policymakers and academia create the conditions necessary for them to truly benefit from the technology. The professionals surveyed provided valuable advice on how the use of AI can succeed,” says Klemens Budde, senior physician at Charité Berlin and co-leader of the Health Care, Medical Technology, Care working group of Plattform Lernende Systeme.
Challenge: Lack of AI skills
The healthcare professionals surveyed by Plattform Lernende Systeme cite a lack of AI skills, a lack of digital infrastructures in inpatient and outpatient settings, and difficult access to high-quality data as the biggest challenges currently facing the use of AI in their day-to-day work. They call for easy-to-use systems and appropriate qualification opportunities for staff, which also address issues of data protection and a critical approach to AI systems. The interviewees are critical of a possible intensification of their work: data maintenance should not result in an additional workload for employees, and time and personnel resources freed up by the use of AI should be used for the benefit of patients and specialists.
According to the authors of the white paper, the use of AI is changing the fields of activity and working conditions of healthcare professionals. They emphasize that AI systems will not replace specialists, but rather support them. The important thing is that the AI systems must be integrated into existing workflows – with the involvement of the professionals using them, their practical experience and their extensive knowledge.
About the white paper
The white paper “AI for healthcare professionals. Opportunities and challenges of medical and nursing AI applications” was written by members of the working group Health Care, Medical Technology, Care as well as the working group Innovation, Business Models and Processes of Plattform Lernende Systeme. The starting point was a workshop on “What does AI bring to healthcare professionals?” on March 29, 2022, at which 50 professionals from the medical and nursing fields discussed the opportunities and challenges of AI use in healthcare. The white paper is available for free download (in German).