Artificial Intelligence, the Evolution of the Healthcare Value Chain, and the Future of the Physician
Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming production across all sectors of the economy, with the potential to both complement and substitute for traditional labor inputs. Healthcare is no exception. Dozens of recent academic studies demonstrate that AI can contribute to the healthcare value chain, by improving both diagnostic accuracy and treatment recommendations. In these ways, AI may wither complement or substitute for physicians. We argue that AI represents the culmination of decades of efforts to enhance medical decision making. Using an historical lens that considers long-standing institutional features of healthcare markets, we identify numerous obstacles to the implementation of AI in medical care, and identify which specialties are most at risk for substitution by AI.
We thank the participants in the 2022 NBER Summer Conference on Artificial Intelligence for their helpful comments and suggestions. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Forthcoming: Artificial Intelligence, the Evolution of the Healthcare Value Chain, and the Future of the Physician, David Dranove, Craig Garthwaite. in The Economics of Artificial Intelligence: Health Care Challenges, Agrawal, Gans, Goldfarb, and Tucker. 2023