Influence of Artificial Intelligence on Canadian Medical Students' Preference for Radiology Specialty: A National Survey Study.
Acad Radiol. 2018 Nov 11. pii: S1076-6332(18)30471-9. doi: 10.1016/j.acra.2018.10.007. [Epub ahead of print]
Gong B1, Nugent JP2, Guest W3, Parker W4, Chang PJ5, Khosa F6, Nicolaou S7.
RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES: Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to transform the clinical practice of radiology. This study investigated Canadian medical students' perceptions of the impact of AI on radiology, and their influence on the students' preference for radiology specialty.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: In March 2018, an anonymous online survey was distributed to students at all 17 Canadian medical schools.
RESULTS: Among 322 respondents, 70 students considered radiology as the top specialty choice, and 133 as among the top three choices. Only a minority (29.3%) of respondents agreed AI would replace radiologists in foreseeable future, but a majority (67.7%) agreed AI would reduce the demand for radiologists. Even among first-choice respondents, 48.6% agreed AI caused anxiety when considering the radiology specialty. Furthermore, one-sixth of respondents who would otherwise rank radiology as the first choice would not consider radiology because of the anxiety about AI. Prior significant exposure to radiology and high confidence in understanding of AI were shown to decrease the anxiety level. Interested students valued the opinions of local radiologists, radiology conferences, and journals. Students were most interested in "expert opinions on AI" and "discussing AI in preclinical radiology lectures" to understand the impact of AI.
CONCLUSION: Anxiety related to "displacement" (not "replacement") of radiologists by AI discouraged many medical students from considering the radiology specialty. The radiology community should educate medical students about the potential impact of AI, to ensure radiology is perceived as a viable long-term career choice.