AI may be sweeping across the healthcare world, but patients aren’t quite ready to see doctors replaced by the technology, according to a survey out of customer relationship management (CRM) software company Salesforce.

More than two-thirds of the 1,400 adults polled indicated they are uncomfortable with healthcare companies or hospitals using AI to diagnose their conditions.

The survey also found that only about 2% of the adult population in the U.S. has used ChatGPT or other generative AI sources for healthcare information. The vast majority — about 70% — still turn to their physicians for that.

Gen Z and younger generations are the exception to that rule, however, as this cohort is more likely to use search engines, ChatGPT, social media and health apps compared to older generations.

The survey also explored people’s perceptions about AI and how that has influenced their trust in the technology. 

Only about 10% of survey respondents reported having a good understanding of AI in patient health scenarios. Just over a quarter people said they believed it would have an impact on their own patient experience in the future, though 47% said they believed it would impact the health system as a whole.

Lower-income respondents were even less likely to believe AI would have an impact on their patient experiences, with only 24% answering in the affirmative compared to 40% of high-income respondents.

Notably, plenty of patients still hold doubts about security risks — like their health data being exploited — with 64% of respondents noting that AI could introduce new risks.

Nonclinical opportunities for AI

Still, there is one comfort zone for patients when it comes to AI — its use in administrative or nonclinical tasks. 

Patients are open to seeing AI incorporated into other areas of workflow in the healthcare system, like scheduling appointments  and coming up with medical expense estimates.

According to Salesforce, this spells an opportunity for physicians and healthcare companies: Using AI to free up physicians’ time on administrative tasks so they can spend more time with patients directly.

“AI won’t replace doctors, it will augment them,” said Amit Khanna, SVP and GM of health at Salesforce, in a statement. “People highly value and trust the personal relationship with their doctors, and AI should be seen as a tool to enhance and support that relationship, rather than a substitute. By automating administrative burdens and streamlining workflows, AI can empower doctors to deliver even better care and personalize patient experiences.”

At the same time that it released the survey results, Salesforce announced it will be launching its own AI tools that aim to streamline workflows for healthcare professionals. 

The AI features are powered by Safesforce’s existing AI Einstein 1 platform, which unifies data and development along with CRM for sales reps.