Dermatologists have a generally favorable attitude regarding the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in their practices, but few have actually used it yet, according to the results of a small survey.
Just 9% of the 90 respondents acknowledged that they have used AI in their practices, while 81% said they had not, and 10% weren’t sure or didn’t know. Despite that lack of familiarity, however, “many embrace the potential positive benefits, such as reducing misdiagnoses” and a majority (94.5%) “would use it at least in certain scenarios,” Vishal A. Patel, MD, and associates said in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology.
Dermatologists aged 40 years and under were more likely to have used AI previously: 15% reported previous experience, compared with 4% of those over age 40 – but the difference in “age did not have a significant effect on perception of AI,” the investigators noted, adding that most of the dermatologists over 40 believe “that AI would be most beneficial and used for detection of malignant skin lesions.”
The survey also asked about ways the respondents would use AI to help their patients. Almost two-thirds of respondents (66%) chose analysis and management of electronic health records “for research purposes to improve patient outcomes,” compared with 56% who chose identifying unknown/screening skin lesions “with a list of differential diagnoses,” 32% who chose telemedicine, and 26% who chose primary surveys of skin, said Patel, director of cutaneous oncology at the George Washington University Cancer Center in Washington, and coauthors.
The respondents were fairly evenly split when asked about the possible impact of nondermatologists using AI in the near future to detect skin lesions, such as melanomas, on the need for dermatologists. Just over a quarter said that the need for dermatologists will be decreased all (about 4.4%) or some (about 21.1%) of the time, and 24.4% said that the need will be increased, with the largest share (39.9%) of respondents choosing the middle ground: neither increased or decreased, the investigators reported.
The survey form was emailed to 850 members of the Orlando Dermatology, Aesthetic & Surgical Conference listserv, with responses accepted from April 13 to May 14, 2021. The investigators noted that the response rate was low enough to be a limiting factor, making selection bias “by those with a particular interest in the topic” a possibility.
No funding sources for the study were disclosed. Patel disclosed that he is chief medical officer for Lazarus AI, the other authors had no disclosures listed.
This article originally appeared on MDedge.com, part of the Medscape Professional Network.