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April 28, 2023


What healthcare consumers think of AI in the patient experience

Yiwei Austin Avatar

Written by

Yiwei Austin

The recent launch of new generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools, such as ChatGPT has spurred debate among consumers about the role of AI in our lives and AI in the patient experience. While it may seem that AI is a relatively new innovation, it has played a role in healthcare for over 50 years, dating back to when Stanford researchers developed an AI  program to treat blood infections.

AI gains traction in the public discourse and new opportunities for using AI in healthcare open up, it’s an important time for the healthcare industry to focus on the patient experience by taking another look at how it uses AI and virtual assistants, what consumer perceptions are of the technology, and what steps should be taken to inform and educate patients. 

On the heels of our recent report on consumer perceptions of AI, we used the DISQO CX Platform to take a deeper dive into patients’ attitudes toward AI-driven healthcare and gain insights into how providers can effectively navigate consumer concerns to enhance the overall patient experience. 

Study Highlights

  • The majority of respondents had no or limited knowledge about the use of AI in healthcare.

  • Most respondents were comfortable with AI scheduling appointments but less so with AI performing administrative tasks, making diagnoses, and being used in treatment.

  • Most respondents found it extremely or very important to be informed when AI is used in their diagnosis and treatment.

  • About half of respondents believed that healthcare facilities should be held responsible for mistakes made by AI in healthcare.

  • Common concerns regarding AI-driven healthcare centered on its accuracy, security, and lack of personal touch.

Awareness of AI-driven healthcare in the patient experience is low

When asked about their knowledge of AI in healthcare, 22% of respondents admitted that they did not have any knowledge, and 37% said they only had limited knowledge, indicating that public awareness and engagement are largely lacking.

Image of chart: How knowledgeable are you about the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare?
Source: DISQO CX Platform, N = 1,896; March 6, 2023

One bright spot in the results revealed that 64% of respondents who reported having experienced AI-driven healthcare (12%) said that experience was at least “somewhat positive.”

Consumers believe AI has a place and role in the patient experience

When asked about AI’s reliability in terms of performing different tasks, 60% of respondents reported that they believed AI is extremely or very reliable when used to schedule appointments.  However, this number dropped to 38% for AI used in performing administrative work (e.g., writing chart notes, managing cases), 30% for AI used in treatment (e.g., providing personalized treatment plans, robot-assisted surgery), and only 27% for AI used in diagnosis (e.g., reading X-rays, forecasting kidney disease).

Image of chart: How reliable or not do you think it is to…?
Source: DISQO CX Platform, N = 1,896; March 6, 2023

Similarly, although 58% of respondents reported that they were either extremely or very comfortable with AI scheduling appointments, only 39% shared that comfortability when it comes to AI performing administrative tasks. Furthermore, almost half of respondents were slightly or not at all comfortable with AI being used in treatment (45%) and making diagnoses (49%). These results suggest that much remains to be done by medical professionals and AI technology providers to gain the public’s trust in AI-driven healthcare.

Image of chart: How comfortable are you with… ?
Source: DISQO CX Platform, N = 1,896; March 6, 2023

Echoing the skepticism about AI’s reliability, 60% of respondents reported that it is extremely or very important for them to be notified when AI is used in their diagnoses and treatment. On the other hand, only 35% of respondents felt that way about AI scheduling appointments, indicating greater trust in AI performing simpler tasks that don’t require medical expertise. 

Image of chart: How important or not is it for you to be informed when AI is used… ?

Source: DISQO CX Platform, N = 1,896; March 6, 2023

As AI matures, expect patients to hold it more accountable

Today, younger patients are more likely to say that vendors should be held responsible for mistakes made in healthcare by AI. As this population matures along with AI, and awareness of the technology’s use increases, so too will the burden of accountability rise for AI.  

Image of chart: Who should be held responsible for mistakes made by AI in healthcare?

Source: DISQO CX Platform, N = 1,896; March 6, 2023

ChatGPT is not ready to compete with Dr. Google, yet

Although it is very common for patients to Google their symptoms, 69%  of all respondents selected either “slightly likely” or “not at all likely” when asked “How likely or not are you to ask AI (e.g., ChatGPT, Google Bard) for medical advice?”  

Image of chart: How do you think AI will affect healthcare in the next five years?
Source: DISQO CX Platform, N = 1,896; March 6, 2023

A chatbot’s gender isn’t important to most for the patient experience

When asked about their gender preference for a healthcare chatbot or AI virtual assistant, 52% of respondents had no preference. Intriguingly, among those with a gender preference, male and female respondents both favored chatbots or AI virtual assistants of their own genders. 

Image of chart: Do you prefer a healthcare chatbot or AI virtual assistant who is male, female, or gender-neutral?

Source: DISQO CX Platform, N = 1,896; March 6, 2023

Patients see the value of AI in healthcare, but they’re still concerned about mistakes

When asked “What are the biggest benefits you see of AI in healthcare?”, many respondents cited diagnostic values, lower costs, and efficiency.  In general, they viewed AI as a tool to free up medical professionals to perform more important tasks, but they still wanted human supervision. 

“I think many nurses and doctors are overworked, and likely many of the mistakes that they make is due to being overworked, so if AI were to relieve their workload by performing some of the simpler/less sensitive tasks, it could help them a lot. I can also see AI handling data and maybe recognizing patterns that could help with a patient's treatment.”

-Female, age 21, $125,000 to $149,999 household income

“AI could help confirm or narrow down a diagnosis, but the actual diagnosis should come from the expertise of the doctor. It could also take notes and keep records organized, but records would still need to be reviewed and proofread because there are still flaws.”

- Female, age 42, $40,000 to $44,999 household income

What are the biggest benefits you see of AI in healthcare? Please be specific.

Image of word cloud with words about the potential benefits of AI in healthcare DISQO CX Platform open-end reporting on the results page

Respondents also shared their concerns about AI-driven healthcare, particularly when it comes to its accuracy, security, and lack of personal touch. Many respondents were worried about AI making mistakes and medical professionals being overly dependent on AI. 

“[I have] lots of concerns around mistakes and misinformation, including the question of who’s responsible and is someone overseeing what AI is doing or telling people about their health.”

Female, age 31, $90,000 to $94,999 household income

Another concern shared by many is that AI-driven healthcare will dehumanize the patient experience and the medical field. 

“AI can be programmed to accomplish a lot in the healthcare arena, but the one thing it is not (yet) capable of, is a personal, human instinct with regard to each patient. For example, a hernia can be diagnosed by a bot as long as the information is transferred correctly; only another human can instinctively react to a patient's distress, sadness, or anxiety.”

Female, age 74, $65,000 to $69,999 household income

What concerns, if any, do you have about AI in healthcare? Please be specific.

Image of word cloud about concerns with AI in healtcare

DISQO CX Platform, open-end reporting on the results page

Despite concerns, patients are warming up to the potential of AI

Overall, 45%  of respondents said that they thought AI will make healthcare better and that percentage went up to 57% for people aged 25 - 34. Twenty-seven percent believe that AI won’t change anything in healthcare, and about the same amount think it will make it worse, showing that AI technology and healthcare providers need to partner on demonstrating the value AI brings to patients. 

Image of chart - How do you think AI will affect healthcare in the next five years?

Source: DISQO CX Platform, N = 1,896; March 6, 2023


This study provides valuable insights into patients’ perspectives on AI-driven healthcare. In general, researchers found that there is a lack of public awareness of the use of AI in healthcare. Although patients are comfortable with AI scheduling appointments and performing some simple administrative work, they do not currently find AI technologies reliable when it comes to diagnoses and treatment, and they desire to be notified of its involvement. 

Many patients see the potential of using AI to liberate medical professionals from paperwork and lower medical expenses. However, it is generally believed that human supervision is needed to prevent errors, and lots of work remains to be done to improve the accuracy of AI technologies. Many argue that as human touch, compassion, and instincts are crucial components of healthcare, they are cannot be replaced by machines. 

Despite these concerns, the public is relatively optimistic about the impacts of AI on future healthcare. To promote the adoption of AI-driven healthcare, medical professionals, healthcare groups, and AI vendors must make further efforts to mitigate possible harms, increase transparency and accountability, and engage the public in dialogue about ethical innovation.


DISQO used the company’s CX platform to survey 1,896 respondents (ages 18 to 75) who had visitied a doctor within the last year on March 6, 2023.

Learn how you can use DISQO's CX platform to test and learn about your patients' experiences.