The American Academy of Neurology annual meeting featured several discussions on the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on clinical practice in the field of neurology, as well as the challenges and opportunities with AI for general neurologists.

In this exclusive MedPage Today video, Christian Camargo, MD, of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida, says physicians should not fear the adoption of AI technologies, but instead embrace it and focus on implementing solutions that not only enhance clinician efficiency, but prioritize patient experience and accessibility.

Following is a transcript of his remarks:

Artificial intelligence in the health space is, of course, a hot topic. And it’s something that I think, as we’ve probably heard with most fields, it’s unavoidable in the sense that you hear people saying that they fear it because it’s going to replace their jobs. I certainly don’t believe it’s ever going to replace the role of a physician. Certainly most patients would never want artificial intelligence to replace their physician. I don’t think it could, even if they wanted it to, which they certainly don’t.

But rather, I think with anything, it has the potential to serve as a tool. And a lot of the talks that we saw at the conference seemed to echo that sort of sentiment. And, indeed, there were talks that talked about even how on the Hill they’re considering it, and how certain large healthcare institutions are even implementing it or launching pilot programs to see how to implement it.

For example, one of the larger healthcare institutions in this country launched a small pilot to see how it can facilitate the process of documentation, one of the things that bogs down many clinicians, and that’s something that really holds back clinical efficiency. And if that were to be facilitated by whatever, that would certainly increase productivity, quality of life, and patient care.

So the program had artificial intelligence basically help draft the clinical encounter for the patient-physician experience rather than have the physician have to do it after hours, or even during the encounter and distract from talking to the patient. And the outcomes seem to suggest that the quality of the documentation was better — the comprehensiveness and accuracy — and most of the physicians seemed to like it. And of course, as far as the patients are concerned, who wouldn’t want more accurate retelling of their encounters?

It’s important that we even have this conversation. And there’s different companies that are putting out different versions of it. There’s a company called Doximity that puts out a specific version that all physicians have access to it for free. Of course, there’s the traditional Open AI versions that everybody in the general public has access to for free. So they talked about the different versions that people can access.

But I think it was very informative to be able attend those because again, we can’t avoid it. And that’s another point that they emphasized that it’s very much like in the old days when the photograph came about and traditional artists were saying that, oh no, the photograph is going to replace traditional paint brush artists. Well, no, it became its own branch of artistry, right? Similar to this, it’s going to become its own thing, and that people who learn how to use it and embrace it are going to develop their own skillset. And healthcare systems could do well to implement AI officers, AI teams.

And similarly, we talked about documentation earlier, but the more you learn and think about how to operationalize it, well again, the more you can think about how best and more appropriately to utilize it, because there’s just so many different ways. Again, it’s just a matter of the needs of the system or an individual practice for that matter.

I guess the final decision always has to be that the physician has the final word, which is already the case, and hopefully that’ll remain to be the case. I think the bigger point is that healthcare systems [should] not be so afraid, not be so afraid of even mentioning it, but at least to have the conversation. And that’s why I was happy that the American Academy of Neurology offered such a large platform for this discussion to be had, and to hear that so many healthcare systems already are beginning to have that discussion and bringing it literally into the clinics to try it in different ways. And I only mentioned Doximity because it’s the one that I’m aware of that at a national level, is making it available to physicians.

But yeah, I foresee that by the next conference there’s going to be even more talks on this, and hopefully by then there’ll be even more implementations that I can speak to. But I thought that the documentation one was a good example of the healthcare system being less afraid and already putting it to good use. Certainly, like I said, there’s more good uses, but like I said, people I think have to be a little more open and publish more and more data on how it was used and just more open adoption, I guess, and less apprehension.

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    Greg Laub is the Senior Director of Video and currently leads the video and podcast production teams. Follow

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