Healthcare Technology Featured Article

August 03, 2023

Perceptions of AI in Healthcare: New Tebra Report Examines Sentiments from Patients and Providers

The mission at Tebra is, like many ventures in life, easy to describe but more difficult to action: Become the digital backbone for independent healthcare practices in order to usher in a new era of thriving wellness.

A bit of context: The name Tebra originates from “vertebra,” symbolizing the company’s role as that digitally powered backbone for practices’ successes. Just as our individual vertebrae come together to support the human body, Tebra is committed to coming together in order to best support practices, providers and, of course, patients around the world.

One of Tebra’s focuses, to no surprise (given its global prevalence), has been AI. The use of AI in healthcare has verifiably lead to improved outcomes for patients, real diagnosis accuracy, and more efficient treatment-planning protocols. ML algorithms can process vast swathes of medical data, aiding in early disease detection, personalized medicines, etc. But as we know, AI-driven tools – however capable in enabling accelerated testing and reduced healthcare costs – must also be approached with due caution. The pitfalls of AI models include a lacking of transparency, training biases, “hallucinations” leading to erroneous decisioning despite “smart-enabled” and data-driven presentation, etc. In modern healthcare, AI may present sensitive patient privacy concerns and, if an overly reliant approach to AI wedges human team members and neglects their expertise, a flurry of ethical concerns could arise.

The long-story-short of it? The “care” in healthcare also denotes a careful attitude when it comes to AI use cases and the strategic implementations therein.

Clearly, this is tread-lightly territory, and Tebra knows that. So, last week, Tebra officially announced the results of its in-depth survey on the current perceptions of AI usages in healthcare. The survey studied the responses from more than 1,000 U.S. patients, plus 500 healthcare professionals nationwide.

Below are some of its key findings, condensed:

  • 8 in 10 participants believe that AI continues to show potential for improving our healthcare quality, while reducing costs and increasing accessibility.
  • 1 in 10 healthcare professionals currently utilize AI technologies, and 50% intend to adopt them in the future.
  • That said, 1 in 4 patients claim they’re more likely to talk to an AI chatbot than attend therapy in person. Though quote-unquote “only 1 in 4,” this is still quite significant, given common grievances with generic chatbot experiences. This could, in theory, now become an effective alternative. (As always, time will tell.)
  • 66% of healthcare professionals are well-aware of AI technologies actively being used in the healthcare field. That’s great, but such a large percentage unaware of available integrations presents concerns.
  • With another significance-bearing 1 in 4 statistic, these patients would actually refuse to visit a medical provider who doesn’t embrace new technologies, in at least some capacity. In a growingly AI-everything world, there’s certainly some commentary here. That said, knowing which providers may be lagging behind the times and which ones are keeping apprised of new tech (and keenly use it) still bears a point worth stating.

Kevin Marasco, Tebra’s Chief Marketing Officer, shared his thoughts on these findings:

“Overall,” Marasco said, “the adoption of generative AI in the healthcare industry holds tremendous potential for revolutionizing healthcare delivery, enhancing key diagnostic capabilities, and improving patient outcomes. As myriad ethical and policy frameworks continue to evolve, we can expect to see further integration of AI in various aspects of healthcare in the future.”

“Our 2023 Perceptions of AI in Healthcare Report,” Marasco added, “is a great resource for practices to see what their peers and the public are saying about AI to help identify patterns, offer diagnostic suggestions, and provide treatment recommendations.”

Download and peruse the report in full here.

Edited by Greg Tavarez
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