A Majority of Americans are Optimistic that AI Will Improve Healthcare in 2024

Wednesday, November 15th, 2023

More than half (51%) of U.S. adults are optimistic new applications of artificial intelligence (AI) will lead to major advancements and breakthroughs in healthcare in the year ahead, according to a new survey from Medtronic, a global healthcare technology leader, and Morning Consult. 

Some of the highest levels of optimism for AI in healthcare are around diagnoses and improving healthcare access. In fact, roughly six in ten adults (61%) agree one of the main benefits of using AI in healthcare is to diagnose and detect health conditions. Further, approximately two-thirds (65%) of adults agree technology can help break down barriers to healthcare with more than half (56%) saying AI (specifically) can be beneficial in improving healthcare access. 

"Disruptive technologies like AI alter the trajectories of our daily lives, changing how we shop, how we communicate, and how we receive healthcare," shares Ken Washington, chief technology and innovation officer at Medtronic. "While skepticism is natural, the survey found strong optimism around the potential of AI in healthcare.  And the reality is, the way we engage with AI will likely look radically different five to 10 years from now. That said, there is one thing I'm certain of — the responsible, ethical use of AI has the power to radically improve healthcare for both patients and doctors."

Addressing perceived barriers to AI adoption is key to increasing consumer confidence
While more than half of Americans are optimistic about AI, there are still barriers to overcome. Among survey respondents who are skeptical about the technology, they report having more proof around AI's potential could help them be more confident in the technology.

  • 83% of consumers view the potential for AI to make mistakes as one of the largest barriers.

  • 80% say lack of basic understanding and evidence that AI improves health outcomes are risks to using AI.

  • However, nearly half (47%) say they would feel more confident if these barriers were addressed.

Americans want to know their doctor is calling the shots – not AI
Consumers have a favorable opinion of using AI to manage their health – but report they aren't ready for their physician to use it extensively, with the survey showing that:

  • 62% of adults have a favorable opinion of symptom trackers and health related apps that depend on AI technology.

  • Despite this, only roughly one-third (36%) say they would prefer to work with a physician who uses AI, and only one-in-five (20%) would want their doctor to use AI extensively.

  • However, when presented with specific ways a physician might use AI, Americans are more open. Two-thirds (67%) say they'd be likely to work with a physician who uses AI to analyze tests, x-rays and CT scans. More than half say the same for detecting cancer (62%).

  • Health status also might influence their openness, with more than half (53%) of adults who consider themselves to be in excellent health preferring to work with a doctor using AI, compared to just 29% who rate their health as fair.

"Here's the bottom line — AI can't be a substitute for human judgement and experience. To this end, I cannot imagine a future where AI will replace doctors. But I can envision a future where AI is ubiquitous in healthcare, creating better experiences and outcomes that patients will prefer," adds Washington.

Medtronic has been pioneering the research and development of AI-based technology for more insights-driven care, from diagnosis to treatment to monitoring. Here are few examples of AI in action at Medtronic today.

Washington will be sharing more of his perspective on AI in healthcare and these survey findings during this week's Techonomy23 conference taking place in Orlando, FL.

For more information on Medtronic's commitment to advancing healthcare through technology and examples of the impact of their AI-based solutions, visit Medtronic.com.