AI causing anxiety for some medical students

Though AI is believed to be a game changer in medicine, Canadian medical students interested in radiology still aren’t sure if it will have a positive impact.

Artificial intelligence is discouraging some medical students to stray away from radiology, according to a survey published in Academic Radiology. About 68 percent of students believe AI would reduce the demand for radiologists, while nearly 49 percent of them agreed AI caused anxiety when considering radiology as a specialty.

There were also concerns about job security in the future, with 29 percent of students agreeing AI would replace radiologists in the foreseeable future. One-sixth of students—who would have otherwise ranked radiology as their top choice—would not consider radiology because of their anxiety about AI, according to the study.

However, having more knowledge about AI eased some anxieties.

“Prior significant exposure to radiology and high confidence in understanding of AI were shown to decrease the anxiety level,” the study reads. “Students were most interested in 'expert opinions on AI' and 'discussing AI in preclinical radiology lectures' to understand the impact of AI."

The survey was conducted by a research team led by Bo Gong, MSc, with the University of British Columbia and the Department of Radiology at the Vancouver General Hospital in Canada. The survey received responses from more than 300 medical students at 17 Canadian medical schools.

Based on the survey results, the authors suggested the radiology community should “educate medical students about the potential impact of AI, to ensure radiology is perceived as a viable long-term career choice.”

AI is expected to make a big impact in the medical industry. Recently, the utilization of AI in healthcare was named as a top medical innovation for 2019.