80% of healthcare pros believe AI is reducing burnout, survey finds

Artificial intelligence may help to inject more humanity back into the medical profession, despite concerns that it may make medicine colder and more sterile.

About 80% of healthcare professionals also believe such technology is helping to reduce burnout, according to a new survey of more than 900 individuals in the U.S. and U.K. The MIT Technology Review poll finds widespread optimism among medical ranks, contrasting concerns from some radiology corners that AI could largely replace the specialty.

“Of any industry, AI could have the most profound benefits on human lives if we can effectively harness it across the healthcare system,” Kieran Murphy, president and CEO of GE Healthcare, which commissioned the survey, said in a statement. “As this research shows, we are already beginning to see its progressive effect – with AI not only fueling efficiencies within health systems, but also truly evolving the healthcare experience for medical professionals and patients.”

All told, MIT Technology Review polled 908 medical professionals working in healthcare institutions this past October. Those included nurses (5%), medical doctors and specialists (17%) and senior management (26%), among others. About 70% live in the United States, with the other 30% residing in the United Kingdom.

Roughly 45% of respondents said they believe AI has helped to increase their time to consult and treat patients. Another 60% indicated that they believe AI has empowered medical staffers to spend more time performing procedures rather than administrative work, and 68% said it’s allowing for greater collaboration among staff.

Another 78% said they believe AI has already helped them to improve workflows, thereby boosting productivity, the poll found.

“Using AI for ‘smarter’ scheduling opens up more slots, which in turn empowers referring physicians to schedule more patients or more effectively match patients with specialists, Dushyant Sahani, professor and chair of radiology at the University of Washington Medical Center, said in the report.

Altogether, about 70% of healthcare institutions said they’ve adopted or are considering adopting AI technology, and 80% expect to increase spending on such applications.

“The AI Effect: How Artificial Intelligence is Making Healthcare More Human” is available to download for free here, or there’s a shorter summary here.