Influence of Artificial Intelligence on Canadian Medical Students' Preference for Radiology Specialty: ANational Survey Study

Published:November 11, 2018DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acra.2018.10.007

      Rationale and Objectives

      Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to transform the clinical practice of radiology. This study investigated Canadian medical students’ perceptions of the impact of AI on radiology, and their influence on the students’ preference for radiology specialty.

      Materials and Methods

      In March 2018, an anonymous online survey was distributed to students at all 17 Canadian medical schools.

      Results

      Among 322 respondents, 70 students considered radiology as the top specialty choice, and 133 as among the top three choices. Only a minority (29.3%) of respondents agreed AI would replace radiologists in foreseeable future, but a majority (67.7%) agreed AI would reduce the demand for radiologists. Even among first-choice respondents, 48.6% agreed AI caused anxiety when considering the radiology specialty. Furthermore, one-sixth of respondents who would otherwise rank radiology as the first choice would not consider radiology because of the anxiety about AI. Prior significant exposure to radiology and high confidence in understanding of AI were shown to decrease the anxiety level. Interested students valued the opinions of local radiologists, radiology conferences, and journals. Students were most interested in “expert opinions on AI” and “discussing AI in preclinical radiology lectures” to understand the impact of AI.

      Conclusion

      Anxiety related to “displacement” (not “replacement”) of radiologists by AI discouraged many medical students from considering the radiology specialty. The radiology community should educate medical students about the potential impact of AI, to ensure radiology is perceived as a viable long-term career choice.

      Key Words

      Abbreviations:

      AI (Artificial Intelligence), CAR (Canadian Association of Radiologists), RSNA (Radiological Society of North America), CaRMS (Canadian Resident Matching Service), CACMS (Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools), LCME (Liaison Committee on Medical Education)
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