Wednesday, January 26, 2022
Tinglong Dai (Johns Hopkins University), Shubhranshu Singh (Johns Hopkins University), Artificial Intelligence on Call: The Physician’s Decision of Whether to Use AI in Clinical Practice, SSRN (2022):
Physicians are increasingly able to use artificial intelligence (AI) systems to aid their medical decision-making. This paper examines a physician’s decision regarding whether to use an assistive AI system when prescribing a treatment plan for a patient. Using AI helps the physician generate an informative signal that lessens clinical uncertainty. It can also change the physician’s legal liability in the event of patient harm. We analyze two patient-protection schemes that determine physician liability when using AI: the prevailing patient-protection scheme uses the AI signal to enforce the current standard of care, whereas an emerging scheme proposes using the AI signal as the new standard of care. We show that in both schemes, the physician has an incentive to use AI in low-uncertainty scenarios, even if AI provides little value. Furthermore, the physician may avoid using AI in higher-uncertainty scenarios where AI could have aided in better decision-making. As AI becomes more precise, the physician may become more hesitant to use it on certain patients. A comparison of the physician’s decision to use AI under the two schemes reveals that using the AI signal as the new standard of care may mitigate AI underuse (overuse) for certain patients but may boost AI underuse (overuse) for some other patients.