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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasingly influential across various sectors, including healthcare, with the potential to revolutionize clinical practice. However, risks associated with AI adoption in medicine have also been identified. Despite the general understanding that AI will impact healthcare, studies that assess the perceptions of medical doctors about AI use in medicine are still scarce. We set out to survey the medical doctors licensed to practice medicine in Portugal about the impact, advantages, and disadvantages of AI adoption in clinical practice. We designed an observational, descriptive, cross-sectional study with a quantitative approach and developed an online survey which addressed the following aspects: impact on healthcare quality of the extraction and processing of health data via AI; delegation of clinical procedures on AI tools; perception of the impact of AI in clinical practice; perceived advantages of using AI in clinical practice; perceived disadvantages of using AI in clinical practice and predisposition to adopt AI in professional activity. Our sample was also subject to demographic, professional and digital use and proficiency characterization. We obtained 1013 valid, fully answered questionnaires (sample representativeness of 99%, confidence level (p< 0.01), for the total universe of medical doctors licensed to practice in Portugal). Our results reveal that, in general terms, the medical community surveyed is optimistic about AI use in medicine and are predisposed to adopt it while still aware of some disadvantages and challenges to AI use in healthcare. Most medical doctors surveyed are also convinced that AI should be part of medical formation. These findings contribute to facilitating the professional integration of AI in medical practice in Portugal, aiding the seamless integration of AI into clinical workflows by leveraging its perceived strengths according to healthcare professionals. This study identifies challenges such as gaps in medical curricula, which hinder the adoption of AI applications due to inadequate digital health training. Due to high professional integration in the healthcare sector, particularly within the European Union, our results are also relevant for other jurisdictions and across diverse healthcare systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0290613
Pages (from-to)e0290613
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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