Medical artificial intelligence readiness scale for medical students (MAIRS-MS) - development, validity and reliability study

BMC Med Educ. 2021 Feb 18;21(1):112. doi: 10.1186/s12909-021-02546-6.


Background: It is unlikely that applications of artificial intelligence (AI) will completely replace physicians. However, it is very likely that AI applications will acquire many of their roles and generate new tasks in medical care. To be ready for new roles and tasks, medical students and physicians will need to understand the fundamentals of AI and data science, mathematical concepts, and related ethical and medico-legal issues in addition with the standard medical principles. Nevertheless, there is no valid and reliable instrument available in the literature to measure medical AI readiness. In this study, we have described the development of a valid and reliable psychometric measurement tool for the assessment of the perceived readiness of medical students on AI technologies and its applications in medicine.

Methods: To define medical students' required competencies on AI, a diverse set of experts' opinions were obtained by a qualitative method and were used as a theoretical framework, while creating the item pool of the scale. Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) and Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) were applied.

Results: A total of 568 medical students during the EFA phase and 329 medical students during the CFA phase, enrolled in two different public universities in Turkey participated in this study. The initial 27-items finalized with a 22-items scale in a four-factor structure (cognition, ability, vision, and ethics), which explains 50.9% cumulative variance that resulted from the EFA. Cronbach's alpha reliability coefficient was 0.87. CFA indicated appropriate fit of the four-factor model (χ2/df = 3.81, RMSEA = 0.094, SRMR = 0.057, CFI = 0.938, and NNFI (TLI) = 0.928). These values showed that the four-factor model has construct validity.

Conclusions: The newly developed Medical Artificial Intelligence Readiness Scale for Medical Students (MAIRS-MS) was found to be valid and reliable tool for evaluation and monitoring of perceived readiness levels of medical students on AI technologies and applications. Medical schools may follow 'a physician training perspective that is compatible with AI in medicine' to their curricula by using MAIRS-MS. This scale could be benefitted by medical and health science education institutions as a valuable curriculum development tool with its learner needs assessment and participants' end-course perceived readiness opportunities.

Keywords: Artificial intelligence; Medical education; Medical students; Medicine; Readiness; Scale development; Validity and reliability.