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In JMIR medical education

BACKGROUND : Given the rapidity with which artificial intelligence is gaining momentum in clinical medicine, current physician leaders have called for more incorporation of artificial intelligence topics into undergraduate medical education. This is to prepare future physicians to better work together with artificial intelligence technology. However, the first step in curriculum development is to survey the needs of end users. There has not been a study to determine which media and which topics are most preferred by US medical students to learn about the topic of artificial intelligence in medicine.

OBJECTIVE : We aimed to survey US medical students on the need to incorporate artificial intelligence in undergraduate medical education and their preferred means to do so to assist with future education initiatives.

METHODS : A mixed methods survey comprising both specific questions and a write-in response section was sent through Qualtrics to US medical students in May 2021. Likert scale questions were used to first assess various perceptions of artificial intelligence in medicine. Specific questions were posed regarding learning format and topics in artificial intelligence.

RESULTS : We surveyed 390 US medical students with an average age of 26 (SD 3) years from 17 different medical programs (the estimated response rate was 3.5%). A majority (355/388, 91.5%) of respondents agreed that training in artificial intelligence concepts during medical school would be useful for their future. While 79.4% (308/388) were excited to use artificial intelligence technologies, 91.2% (353/387) either reported that their medical schools did not offer resources or were unsure if they did so. Short lectures (264/378, 69.8%), formal electives (180/378, 47.6%), and Q and A panels (167/378, 44.2%) were identified as preferred formats, while fundamental concepts of artificial intelligence (247/379, 65.2%), when to use artificial intelligence in medicine (227/379, 59.9%), and pros and cons of using artificial intelligence (224/379, 59.1%) were the most preferred topics for enhancing their training.

CONCLUSIONS : The results of this study indicate that current US medical students recognize the importance of artificial intelligence in medicine and acknowledge that current formal education and resources to study artificial intelligence-related topics are limited in most US medical schools. Respondents also indicated that a hybrid formal/flexible format would be most appropriate for incorporating artificial intelligence as a topic in US medical schools. Based on these data, we conclude that there is a definitive knowledge gap in artificial intelligence education within current medical education in the US. Further, the results suggest there is a disparity in opinions on the specific format and topics to be introduced.

Liu David Shalom, Sawyer Jake, Luna Alexander, Aoun Jihad, Wang Janet, Boachie Lord, Halabi Safwan, Joe Bina


artificial intelligence, digital health, eHealth, education, elective course, integration, medical curriculum, medical education, medical school, medical student