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How Medical Providers Can Increase Patients’ Trust in AI


Apr 13, 2023
How Medical Providers Can Increase Patients' Trust in AI


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In 2022, North America’s artificial intelligence (AI) market was projected to be worth 24.9 billion U.S. dollars, making it a primary AI regional market.

A swarm of AI-based startups and products overtakes healthcare, finance, retail, security, logistics and many other fields. And though AI proves to be highly beneficial in many application areas, this progress comes with a price. According to a survey of business leaders in the healthcare industry in the U.S. in 2021, 52% of respondents reported having concerns that AI in healthcare could lead to threats to security and privacy. A further 45% were worried that AI could have safety issues, while 35% had concerns surrounding machine bias.

Related: Artificial Intelligence And Its Role In Healthcare

Pros and cons of AI as seen from the patient’s side

End users of AI healthcare products on the receiving side — patients and their families — share these concerns. And since providers ultimately cater to users, the question that will define the success of the patient-facing AI healthcare startups today is: Do people trust AI enough to let it take care of them and their families?

There are several reasons why patients may not trust AI, including:

  • Concerns about privacy and security

  • Worries that AI will make mistakes

  • Fears that robots will replace human doctors

However, there are also many reasons patients may choose to trust AI, such as:

  • Offers more personalized care

  • Provides 24/7 access to care

  • Helps reduce wait times

Ultimately, whether or not a patient trusts AI is a personal decision. Some patients may feel comfortable trusting AI with their health information and allowing robots to provide some care, while others may feel more comfortable sticking with human doctors.

What do people trust AI with, and what do they not trust?

When it comes to trusting AI in healthcare, patients and clinicians are generally more comfortable with the technology used for administrative duties, such as billing and scheduling, than entrusting AI with more personal tasks, such as diagnosis and treatment.

Some people hail AI taking on a more central role in healthcare. In particular, younger adults and people with higher levels of education tend to be more open to the idea. Many respondents expect AI to reduce the number of mistakes in healthcare and improve diagnostic accuracy. However, most are confident that AI implementation will hurt patient-provider relationships. Proof people don’t rely on AI’s empathy level is that two-thirds of U.S. adults wouldn’t let AI define the amount of pain medication they get.

Meanwhile, empathy is a cornerstone of our medicine and is irreplaceable in the areas such as ObGyn treatments and pediatrics. And in some areas, like psychiatric hospitals, robot doctors may even harm the patients’ well-being.

Hospitals and clinicians looking to employ intellectual computers will consider these factors and the pros and cons when choosing their providers. So, how can you help your product win more trust from the end users?

Related: AI Is Transforming Healthcare as We Know It. Here’s a Look at the Future — and the Opportunities for Entrepreneurs.

How can a clinician increase levels of trust in AI from patients?

Disclose limitations and benefits:

It is essential to ensure that patients are well-informed about the realistic capabilities of AI. Be transparent about the possible limitations and potential benefits, and let patients opt out of AI if they have concerns or reservations.

Follow the ethical guidelines:

Providers must build a track record of using AI responsibly and effectively. It means using AI by ethical guidelines and only employing it when there is a solid evidence base to support its use.

Guarantee data privacy:

Data privacy and security measures must be robust and fit for purpose. It includes ensuring that patient data is encrypted and stored securely and that only authorized personnel can access it.

Educate your patients:

Providers need to prepare to answer questions from patients about AI usage. These include explaining why doctors use AI in a particular instance, how it works and the expected outcomes.

By taking these steps, healthcare providers can help increase patient trust in AI, which is essential for successfully adopting this technology in healthcare.

How to increase the general public’s levels of trust in AI products

Trust is the primary factor affecting AI adoption in the evolving relationship between humans and AI. How do you build it up, then? For the initial trust building, several factors are in play:

Representation: Because first impressions are so crucial for building trust, androids are so popular. The more a robot looks like a person, the easier it is for people to feel an emotional connection.

User reviews: Testimonials are very popular these days. And a good user review builds initial trust more than a negative review tarnishes it.

Ease to explain and understand: Before we can trust AI applications, we must know how they are developed and what functions they perform in specific contexts. Trust suffers when an AI application is hard to explain or can’t be explained at all.

Trialability: Trialability means that people can get access to the AI application and try it out before they accept or adopt it. If you let potential customers try out new technologies, they will be more likely to trust you.

Communication: While AI programs may perform activities independently, it is more probable that intelligent robots will operate with humans for the time being. And trust is built with communication.

Socialization and bonding: Humans are social creatures. Social acts such as showing affection may foster long-term trust.

The relationship between people and intelligent computers is still in its early stage. To be successful in the healthcare market, AI startups must prioritize data privacy, security and the social impact of AI. You need to be transparent about the capabilities and limitations of your technology and ensure it gets used effectively to build up customers’ trust in your product.

Related: AI And Robotics Are Transforming Healthcare, According To This Health Tech CEO

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