A report from Elsevier Health has found that almost half of all doctors and nurses are eager for physicians to use generative AI products and platforms in the future to support their clinical decision-making, further affirming the need to drive a technological shift in healthcare.

The Clinician of the Future 2023 study comes one year after the launch of the inaugural Clinician of the Future report, which provided a voice for clinicians and a mandate for change to help future-proof the global health industry. This new report champions the experiences and views of 2,607 doctors and nurses worldwide, underscoring the gravity of healthcare workforce challenges highlighted in the original survey, but now putting an additional lens on the future role of generative AI technologies across global healthcare.

Participants across both Clinician of the Future reports spotlight concerns around overwhelming resource issues for healthcare systems worldwide, even as they face substantial treatment backlogs. Clinician shortages remain the top concern in North America and Europe. More than half (54%) of clinicians surveyed for the 2023 report still identify nurse shortages as a pressing health priority. Interestingly, 45% similarly reported the need to tackle doctor shortages. This reinforces the urgent need for innovative solutions, such as generative AI, to address clinician shortages, as well as identify opportunities for efficiencies and training to both enhance clinical readiness and provide much-needed clinician support.

Jan Herzhoff, president of Elsevier Health said: “By equipping clinicians with advanced tools and training to support their clinical decision-making, doctors and nurses will be empowered to allocate more time to the human aspect of patient care.”

The Clinician of the Future 2023 report also identifies key insights into clinician attitudes towards technology as an enabler to help deliver efficient patient care and better prepare future doctors and nurses.

·       Physicians see themselves as needing to be experts in the use of digital health technologies, with 73% of clinicians agreeing this skill will be desirable in the next 2-3 years.

·       While only 11% of today’s clinical decisions are assisted by generative AI tools, 48% of respondents say that physicians using generative AI tools to help make clinical decisions will be desirable in 2-3 years’ time.

·       China emerges as more optimistic about generative AI adoption, with 53% of clinicians saying physician use of generative AI technologies in the next 2-3 years is desirable compared to 42% of those from the US and 34% of those from the UK.

·       Clinicians expect to have fewer interactions in person by 2028 than they do today, with 55% finding it desirable for telehealth to be the main mechanism for routine check-ups in 2-3 years’ time.

·       Over half (51%) of clinicians welcome the prospect of medical students using generative AI-powered tools as part of their medical education in the next 2-3 years.

·       Clinicians from the UK and the US are more reserved about generative AI technologies supporting medical students, as only 33% in the UK and 40% in the US find this desirable. 

As global healthcare systems progress towards a digital-first approach, the findings in the Clinician of the Future 2023 report demonstrate that the workforce not only recognises the potential new technologies like generative AI provide to innovate global healthcare but also how they can help improve patient care today and in the future.

For the full Clinician of the Future 2023 report, which includes robust data on global attitudes on the future of healthcare, important insights on training and development and more, click here.