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A third of patients in the UK are willing to have major invasive surgery performed by AI

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New research by YouGov for PwC has found that nearly a third (30%) of patients in the UK would be willing to have major invasive surgery performed by AI – in particular nearly half of young people (18-24) would be willing (43%).

Men are significantly more willing than women – 39% compared to 22%. However, older people (the over 55s) are much more sceptical at just 24%.

But despite the AI hype, there’s still work to be done in healthcare to build trust among UK patients in this type of technology – 1 in 4 people can’t see the benefits of using AI in healthcare at all.

The main concern patients have is that AI lacks the ‘human touch’, and the human ability to look beyond data, and include context when making treatment choices. This demonstrates the importance UK patients place upon their relationship with medical professionals.

However, the patients surveyed noted three major advantages of using AI:

  • Quicker and easier access to healthcare;

  • The ability to access and analyse more information than a human, enabling much faster and accurate diagnosis; and

  • With the above in mind, better treatment recommendations.

Even though many patients are sceptical, the fact that nearly four in 10 would be willing to engage with technology in their healthcare experience signals a huge opportunity to transform healthcare delivery for the benefit of patients in the UK. Closer examination reveals significant potential in the UK market:

  • The younger the demographic group, the more likely they are to see new health technologies in a positive light.

  • Well over half of 18 to 24 year olds would be willing to engage with AI and robotics to take care of some of their health needs.

If just a proportion of the UK population start to use more services delivered through technology it could begin to deliver savings by freeing up both staff and resources. This could, in turn, make a serious contribution to addressing the huge financial challenges facing the health system in the UK.

Quentin Cole, UK Government and Health Industries leader at PwC, commented:

“PwC’s report on automation last year estimated that healthcare and social work would be the biggest winners from AI, where employment could increase by nearly 1 million on a net basis, equivalent to more than a fifth of existing jobs in the sector.

“With the younger demographic more open to using new technologies in their healthcare, we need to  seize the opportunity to prepare for a generation that will be more willing to engage with AI.”




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