64% of patients would be OK with AI-powered nurse assistants: 6 survey insights

As artificial intelligence infiltrates healthcare a little more each day, fears of robots taking over the workforce grow, too — even among patients and caregivers — according to a Syneos Health Communications report.

Syneos surveyed about 800 European and American patients in three disease areas — atrial fibrillation, Type 2 diabetes and breast cancer — as well as 200 caregivers for people with Parkinson's disease.

Here are six things to know.

1. About one in 10 U.S. respondents used a voice technology for health in 2017, compared to just 4 percent across the European Union.

2. Nearly 64 percent of respondents said they would be comfortable with an AI virtual nurse assistant, citing the No. 1 benefit as 24/7 on-demand access to answers.

3. Respondents (72 percent) said an AI virtual nurse assistant with a "realistic voice" that has a professional, warm and empathetic tone is more important than one with a human name, face or gender.

4. The top two fears patients and caregivers have when it comes to AI are: the lack of human oversight (56 percent); and, the potential for machine errors to lead to the mismanagement of their health (60 percent).

5. Less than 20 percent of patients perceive any benefit to their future healthcare in receiving diagnosis or treatment recommendations from a virtual assistant.

6. When asked to rank potential providers of AI-powered virtual nurse assistants in terms of trust, healthcare providers — such as physicians, pharmacists or hospitals — rank highest. Tech companies and insurers are toward the bottom of the list.

Click here to download the report.

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