What doctor?

Why AI and robotics will define New Health

The report looks at trends in the healthcare sector and examines the emergence and increasing use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics.

PwC’s report – What doctor? Why AI and robotics will define New Health –  is based on a commissioned survey of over 11,000 people from 12 countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

In Belgium 1,021 people took part in the survey. Across the region, more than half of respondents (55%) said they were willing to use advanced computer technology or robots with AI that can answer health questions, perform tests, make a diagnosis and recommend treatment. 

Will AI replace consultation?

The human ‘face-to-face’ element of healthcare is traditionally cited as vital. And yet most doctors probably spend more time going over medical records and interpreting data from tests and other medical interventions than they are actually with their patients.


How willing are patients to interact with such technology?

Survey participants were asked to consider advanced computer technology or robots with AI that had the ability to answer health questions, perform tests, make a diagnosis based on those test and symptoms, and recommend and administer treatment.

The purpose was to understand how willing they would be to engage with this sort of technology if it was more accessible and could process health information faster and more efficiently than their doctor or other healthcare professional. In Belgium, 51% are still unwilling.

"It’s clear that people are becoming increasingly willing to embrace new technologies for healthcare, although this willingness varies around the globe. Governments, businesses and the healthcare profession need to start thinking very differently about how healthcare is provided to citizens."

Romain SefferPartner at PwC Belgium

Will robots replace surgeons in the operating theatre?

We asked survey participants if they would be willing for a robot to perform a minor or major surgical procedure instead of a doctor if studies showed that they could do it better than a doctor (e.g. more quickly, more accurately, with a faster recovery time).

In Belgium (the UK, Germany and Sweden), unwilling respondents outnumbered the willing, yet in these countries over one-third of the public were still willing to undergo such a procedure. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the situation changed dramatically when it came to major surgery.


Emerging markets are most open to rely on technology for their care 

For all questions in the survey, a pattern emerged between developed and emerging economies.

People in countries with well-established, and therefore less flexible, healthcare systems (UK and Western/North Europe) were willing to engage with a non-human healthcare provider, but less so than those in emerging markets where healthcare is still being shaped and formed. 

Contact us

Romain Seffer

Partner, PwC Belgium

Tel: +32 2710 9505

Sofie Van Grieken

Partner, PwC Belgium

Tel: +32 3259 3429

Matthias Reyntjens

Partner, PwC Belgium

Tel: +32 9 268 80 66

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