Zocdoc CEO: Physicians will need emotional intelligence to keep up with AI

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As artificial intelligence systems begin to take on analytical tasks in the healthcare industry, successful physicians will need to develop emotional intelligence as a key component of their practice, Zocdoc CEO Oliver Kharraz, MD, told CNBC.

Recent research suggests AI may be able to diagnose medical conditions by analyzing patient data, which will likely shift the types of personalities attracted to the medical profession, Dr. Kharraz said. A primary task for physicians will be listening to individual patient concerns.

"Doctors in the future will come from the same pool as actors," Dr. Kharraz told CNBC.

As an example, he shared a case study in which a patient with pneumonia scheduled a medical visit, but standard tests weren't able to diagnose the root of the problem. By asking attentive questions, the patient's physician deduced gum that the patient swallowed had gotten trapped in their lungs — which he said a computer likely would have overlooked.

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