CLEVELAND, Ohio — More than half of Americans are willing to receive heart health advice from artificial intelligence technology. While most Americans would trust health advice given by a computer chatbot, they would consult a doctor before acting on the advice.
Those are some of the findings from the Cleveland Clinic’s 2024 Heart Health Survey, which was released Thursday to coincide with the start of American Heart Month.
The National Institutes of Health designates February as American Heart Month, a time when Americans learn how to prevent cardiovascular disease and commit to a heart-healthy lifestyle.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among men and women in the United States. In 2021, nearly 700,000 Americans died from heart disease.
This year, the clinic’s annual Heart Health Survey focuses on how Americans are using artificial intelligence and health monitoring technology to improve heart health.
“Artificial intelligence in medicine has been around in research for a while, but has only recently captured the public’s imagination,” said Dr. Ashish Sarraju, a cardiologist at the clinic.
Saraju said artificial intelligence has the potential to take over basic tasks, allowing the doctor-patient relationship to deepen and focus on more complex issues.
“The idea of using AI to inform and enhance the relationship with the physician, rather than replace it, is very interesting,” Saraju said.
Listen to the chatbot, but ask your doctor
Here are some key points from the clinic survey:
- About 60% of Americans believe artificial intelligence will lead to better heart care.
- While 72% of respondents believe health advice provided by computer chatbots is accurate, nearly 90% would still seek advice from a doctor before acting on a chatbot’s information.
- About 65% of respondents said they would accept heart health advice provided by artificial intelligence technology.
- Less than 25% of Americans have sought health advice from a computer chatbot or other form of artificial intelligence technology.
- About 50% of Americans use at least one type of health monitoring technology to perform tasks such as counting daily steps (60%), monitoring heart rate or pulse (53%), monitoring sleep (33%), tracking blood pressure (32%) %) ) and track calories burned (40%).
- Many people say health technology has encouraged them to exercise more regularly (53%), take more steps during the day (50%) and eat better (34%), according to the survey.
The clinic said the results come from a nationwide online survey of 1,000 Americans ages 18 and older. Respondents were nationally representative in terms of age, gender, region, education, household income, race/ethnicity, and urban/rural residence.
Heart disease burden remains
American Heart Month highlights the prevalence of heart disease and the health burden it causes in the country.
The CDC says the annual cost of health care, medicines and lost productivity due to death totals approximately $239.9 billion.
Saraju said the country has made progress in reducing heart disease risk factors such as smoking, but has declined in other factors such as diabetes and obesity.
Diets rich in processed foods can lead to obesity and metabolic health problems, he said. In some communities, it’s easier and cheaper to buy processed or ultra-processed foods than fresh vegetables.
New weight loss pills are often used to help people with diabetes. Saraju is optimistic that if such drugs become more common, they could have a positive impact on heart disease.
“The data shows that people who control all their risk factors do better than those who have difficulty controlling their risk factors,” he said. “Our real goal should be to try to figure out how to promote optimal cardiovascular health under all the different parameters.”
Exercise regularly, check your personal risk factors for heart disease such as blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and blood sugar, and learn more about how to keep your heart healthy from reliable resources, he said.
Julie Washington Underwriting Healthcare cleveland.com.read Previous story at this link.