Are We Ready to Integrate Artificial Intelligence Literacy into Medical School Curriculum: Students and Faculty Survey

J Med Educ Curric Dev. 2021 Jun 23;8:23821205211024078. doi: 10.1177/23821205211024078. eCollection Jan-Dec 2021.


Background: The effects of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology applications are already felt in healthcare in general and in the practice of medicine in the disciplines of radiology, pathology, ophthalmology, and oncology. The expanding interface between digital data science, emerging AI technologies and healthcare is creating a demand for AI technology literacy in health professions.

Objective: To assess medical student and faculty attitudes toward AI, in preparation for teaching AI foundations and data science applications in clinical practice in an integrated medical education curriculum.

Methods: An online 15-question semi-structured survey was distributed among medical students and faculty. The questionnaire consisted of 3 parts: participant's background, AI awareness, and attitudes toward AI applications in medicine.

Results: A total of 121 medical students and 52 clinical faculty completed the survey. Only 30% of students and 50% of faculty responded that they were aware of AI topics in medicine. The majority of students (72%) and faculty (59%) learned about AI from the media. Faculty were more likely to report that they did not have a basic understanding of AI technologies (χ2, P = .031). Students were more interested in AI in patient care training, while faculty were more interested in AI in teaching training (χ2, P = .001). Additionally, students and faculty reported comparable attitudes toward AI, limited AI literacy and time constraints in the curriculum. There is interest in broad and deep AI topics. Our findings in medical learners and teaching faculty parallel other published professional groups' AI survey results.

Conclusions: The survey conclusively proved interest among medical students and faculty in AI technology in general, and in its applications in healthcare and medicine. The study was conducted at a single institution. This survey serves as a foundation for other medical schools interested in developing a collaborative programming approach to address AI literacy in medical education.

Keywords: AI; Artificial intelligence; medical students; survey; teaching faculty; undergraduate medical education.