Dr Jonathan Kentley: Physicians Are Working Alongside AI, Not Being Replaced by It

Jonathan Kentley, MBBS, MSc, research fellow at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, talks about how dermatologists are working with artificial intelligence (AI) while still making sure patient voices are heard.

For physicians, patients are the top priority, and something as revolutionary as bringing artificial intelligence (AI) into health care needs to take their perspectives into consideration, said Jonathan Kentley, MBBS, MSc, research fellow at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.


How can dermatologists incorporate AI into health care without becoming too reliant on it?

I think it's very unlikely that AI is going to take anyone's job in the near future. We're all physicians, we work as doctors. Patients want to be treated by a doctor. But I think AI is going to have a place in health care, really if it's taking over the kind of mundane, day-to-day tasks, as well as a triage tool. In radiology, a lot of AI tools are now FDA-approved, [and there are] triage scans that need to be looked at first by radiologists. I think this will be similar for dermatology, and the pigmented lesions that need to be seen by a dermatologist soon will be the ones that are triaged at the top of the list, particularly in resource-poor areas where people are using much more teledermatology and have less access to dermatologists.

There's also the concept of augmented intelligence, which is where doctors are working alongside artificial intelligence. I think this is the place that's also going to have a role. It's been shown to be useful for primary care as well as in training residents and helping them make decisions. There's a research paper that was shown that when people make their decision with a relatively poor confidence, that's the place that augmented intelligence can come in and help us in making management plans for our patients.

With the popularization of AI, how can patients ensure their voice is still being heard?

This is a really important point. I mean, we're physicians, and patients are the first thing that should be important to us. So, we really can't be bringing anything as revolutionary as AI into health care without taking patients' perspectives into account. There has been some research surveying patients on their opinions on AI, which is very mixed—people tend to be supportive of it, but they really don't want to lose that personal aspect of medicine. And quite worryingly, research has shown that it's the people with higher education, higher income level that are going to be more accepting of AI, and that's a concern because we really don't want to bring in anything that's going to perpetuate inequalities in health care. So I think before anyone is really developing tools that are going to be rolled out to the public or be implemented to health care systems, we really need to ensure there's some patient public engagement in there before we do that.

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