'Physicians who use AI will replace those who don't,' AMA chief says

Artificial intelligence won't take over diagnosis and treatment of most diseases, but that doesn't mean physicians shouldn't be using it, the American Medical Association's chief told Politico.

"It is clear to me that AI will never replace physicians — but physicians who use AI will replace those who don't," AMA President Jesse Ehrenfeld, MD, said in the July 10 story.

He told the news outlet it will help make physicians' work more accurate and efficient, cutting down on administrative tasks. "I can't tell you how frustrating it is when I get turned from a highly trained physician into a data entry clerk," he said. He pointed to one promising diagnostic use case: an AI tool that scans for diabetic retinopathy that could be placed in primary care officers or pharmacies.

Regulations are needed for healthcare AI to reach its full potential, Dr. Ehrenfeld said in the story. He pointed to Boeing, which had a computer program that overrode pilots, leading to two deadly crashes in 2018 to 2019.

"We cannot make that same mistake in health care," he told Politico. "If I, as a physician, am going to supervise and correct AI, I have to know that it's there. I have to understand the outputs it's producing. I have to be able to step in if something happens."

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