Envisioning an artificial intelligence documentation assistant for future primary care consultations: a co-design study with general practitioners

A. Baki Kocaballi, Kiran Ijaz, Liliana Laranjo, Juan C. Quiroz, Dana Rezazadegan, Huong Ly Tong, Simon Willcock, Shlomo Berkovsky, Enrico Coiera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)
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Objective: The study sought to understand the potential roles of a future artificial intelligence (AI) documentation assistant in primary care consultations and to identify implications for doctors, patients, healthcare system, and technology design from the perspective of general practitioners.

Materials and Methods: Co-design workshops with general practitioners were conducted. The workshops focused on (1) understanding the current consultation context and identifying existing problems, (2) ideating future solutions to these problems, and (3) discussing future roles for AI in primary care. The workshop activities included affinity diagramming, brainwriting, and video prototyping methods. The workshops were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Inductive thematic analysis of the transcripts of conversations was performed.

Results: Two researchers facilitated 3 co-design workshops with 16 general practitioners. Three main themes emerged: professional autonomy, human-AI collaboration, and new models of care. Major implications identified within these themes included (1) concerns with medico-legal aspects arising from constant recording and accessibility of full consultation records, (2) future consultations taking place out of the exam rooms in a distributed system involving empowered patients, (3) human conversation and empathy remaining the core tasks of doctors in any future AI-enabled consultations, and (4) questioning the current focus of AI initiatives on improved efficiency as opposed to patient care.

Conclusions: AI documentation assistants will likely to be integral to the future primary care consultations. However, these technologies will still need to be supervised by a human until strong evidence for reliable autonomous performance is available. Therefore, different human-AI collaboration models will need to be designed and evaluated to ensure patient safety, quality of care, doctor safety, and doctor autonomy.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberocaa131
Pages (from-to)1695-1704
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Medical Informatics Association : JAMIA
Issue number11
Early online date26 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • primary health care
  • general practitioners
  • medical informatics
  • artificial intelligence
  • qualitative study


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