Four Key Ways to Leverage Trust of AI in the Healthcare Experience –  A New Consumer Survey

Updated on June 11, 2024
Artificial intelligence, Healthcare, Robots in Healthcare, Healthcare Technology
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Artificial Intelligence (AI) offers promising solutions to some of healthcare’s most challenging problems, provided it is integrated appropriately and users trust the technology. At Stone Mantel, we’ve been particularly interested in whether patient trust has kept pace with AI’s rapid growth over the past eighteen months. In our recent annual US consumer experience survey conducted in April 2024, we asked respondents to rank their trust in AI across various use cases, from predicting costs to surgical planning.

Despite AI being relatively new, our findings showed that trust is generally favorable, especially among millennials and those with higher incomes. However, with 20-30% indicating a low level of trust, there is significant opportunity to increase consumer confidence. As shown in the chart below, administrative use cases, such as cost prediction and patient/physician conversation capturing, ranked highest in trust, whereas clinical applications like drug discovery, diagnostics, and surgical planning ranked lowest.

So, what can your healthcare organization learn from this survey to better use AI in your healthcare services?

Opportunity to Use AI for Cost Prediction and Increase Healthcare Engagement

The use case with the highest levels of trust was AI for predicting costs and prices. This aligns with another survey finding where 58% of respondents reported a significant increase in healthcare costs over the past year. These increased costs have changed health-seeking behavior and impacted respondents’ lives beyond their health.

With over half of respondents trusting AI for cost prediction, AI can help patients better predict, understand, and manage healthcare expenses. This could maintain engagement in healthcare despite rising costs. Avoiding preventative care and treatment might seem like a short-term solution for patients facing higher costs, but it ultimately drives up long-term costs for both individuals and the healthcare system.

Patients Trust AI to Facilitate More Face-to-Face Interactions with Physicians

Patients have long cited the negative impact of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) on patient-physician interactions. They see AI as a solution to improve this situation. As you face the dual challenges of increasing patient engagement amid rising healthcare costs and addressing ongoing physician burnout, investing in AI to enhance patient-physician interactions seems like a clear win.

Potential of AI as a Digital Health Coach to Improve Health Outcomes

With 84% of survey respondents using a smartphone for health-related activities, there is significant potential for AI as a digital health coach. While 34% of respondents are neutral and 42% trust AI in this role, many may not be aware of this potential. Respondents who already use a digital health tool daily had the highest trust in AI as a digital health coach.

Now is the time to leverage this open attitude towards AI in a coaching role, especially for companies with extensive healthcare data that can be transformed into an AI coaching tool. Stone Mantel partners with Suggestic, a pioneer in AI-based digital health coaching, to create engaging, outcomes-driven AI health coaching programs via the Suggestic platform.

Use Transparency to Build Patient Trust in AI

With 20-30% of respondents reporting low trust in AI across all healthcare applications, providing clear, patient-friendly information about when and how AI is used is crucial for building trust. Unlike regulated Prescribing Information and Patient Information sheets, we can develop more digestible disclosures, education, and explanations to increase patient comfort with AI. This will be particularly important in areas directly involved in patient care.

AI is here to stay and will continue to play a greater role in the patient experience. Now is the time to approach it in a way that drives patient engagement while increasing their comfort levels.

Want to learn more about our research or how to integrate AI into your healthcare experiences? Let’s chat! You can reach me at [email protected].

Tiffany Mura
Tiffany Mura
Lead Experience Strategist at Stone Mantel

Tiffany Mura is a lead experience strategist with Stone Mantel, a research-led consultancy at the forefront of customer and employee experience strategy.