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The Medical Authority of AI: A Study of AI-enabled Consumer-facing Health Technology

by   Yue You, et al.

Recently, consumer-facing health technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based symptom checkers (AISCs) have sprung up in everyday healthcare practice. AISCs solicit symptom information from users and provide medical suggestions and possible diagnoses, a responsibility that people usually entrust with real-person authorities such as physicians and expert patients. Thus, the advent of AISCs begs a question of whether and how they transform the notion of medical authority in everyday healthcare practice. To answer this question, we conducted an interview study with thirty AISC users. We found that users assess the medical authority of AISCs using various factors including automated decisions and interaction design patterns of AISC apps, associations with established medical authorities like hospitals, and comparisons with other health technologies. We reveal how AISCs are used in healthcare delivery, discuss how AI transforms conventional understandings of medical authority, and derive implications for designing AI-enabled health technology.


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