35% of patients still wary of AI-enabled and wearable digital health solutions, study finds: 4 things to know

Despite the prevalence of artificial intelligence and wearable devices in clinical care, an estimated 20 percent of patients with chronic conditions are still completely opposed to the use of these technologies in their treatment plans, according to a study published this month in npj Digital Medicine.

Here are four key takeaways from the study, in which scientists from Paris Descartes University surveyed more than 1,000 patients about the use of AI-powered and wearable digital health solutions:

1. Just 3 percent of participants said negative aspects such as cybersecurity risks and data privacy issues outweigh the potential benefits of tech-enabled care, while 20 percent said the benefits "greatly outweighed" the dangers.

2. However, approximately 20 percent said they would refuse all four of the high-tech care options presented: AI-powered skin cancer screening, remote monitoring of chronic conditions to predict exacerbations, "smart" clothes for physical therapy and AI chatbots to answer emergency calls.

3. A total of 35 percent of those surveyed said they would refuse at least one of the presented AI-enabled or wearable treatment options.

4. Overall, only 50 percent of patients said the development of AI and other digital tools in healthcare represented an "important opportunity"; 11 percent considered this innovation dangerous.

"Our results highlight that patients intuitively think that AI should help clinicians 'predict' outcomes, but that decisions, actions and recommendations should remain a human task. Technology would be like a 'driver assistance' for clinicians," the study's authors wrote. "Even among patients who were the most ready for the use of technology in their care, they would only see AI as a complement — and not as replacement — for human care for situations related to sensitive topics (cancer) or which involved lasting interventions (monitoring for chronic conditions)."

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