RCP calls on doctors to embrace AI, but make sure it works for patients

In new recommendations for the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to support doctors, the RCP has called on the medical profession to embrace the technology, but to make sure that it works for patients. 

The recommendations follow a roundtable event hosted by the RCP on 31 July 2018, at which experts across the sector – including RCP advisers on health informatics, members of our Patient and Carer Network, healthcare organisations and industry representatives – gathered to discuss what AI means for the doctor of the future.

The message from the meeting was clear: it is not for the doctor of the future to engage with AI, it is already a reality for doctors right now. AI presents many opportunities for health, but as a fast-moving area of technology it also presents challenges which should be carefully considered. The consideration first and foremost must always be patient safety.

The message was clear: it is not for the doctor of the future to engage with AI, it is already a reality for doctors right now.

Commenting on the position statement, RCP president-elect Dr Andrew Goddard said:

AI to support patient care is being developed in a variety of ways and has huge potential to support doctors and enable them to spend more time with patients. However, we musn’t get carried away or think that the AI applications developed so far can replace a fully trained and qualified doctor. We need much more robust trials and evidence to work out how it can best be used.

So let’s embrace it, evaluate it using the same rigorous standards we apply to any new medical innovation and educate ourselves on the opportunities AI offers to support great patient care.

The RCP looks forward to continuing this debate with the sector at this important time and working collaboratively to ensure new technology is effective, robust and accessible.

The AI position statement is the view of the RCP alone and we are grateful for the advice and participation of external colleagues.