Anticipating and Training the Physician of the Future: The Importance of Caring in an Age of Artificial Intelligence

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Artificial intelligence and other forms of information technology are only just beginning to change the practice of medicine. The pace of change is expected to accelerate as tools improve and as demands for analyzing a rapidly growing body of knowledge and array of data increase. The medical students of today will practice in a world where information technology is sophisticated and omnipresent. In this world, the tasks of memorization and analysis will be less important to them as practicing physicians. On the other hand, the nonanalytical, humanistic aspects of medicine—most importantly, the art of caring—will remain a critical function of the physician, and facility with improving systems of care will be required. Communication, empathy, shared decision making, leadership, team building, and creativity are all skills that will continue to gain importance for physicians. These skills should be further prioritized in medical school curricula to produce an even more effective physician for the future.

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