Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 34, Issue 8, pp 1626–1630 | Cite as

Ten Ways Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Primary Care

  • Steven Y. LinEmail author
  • Megan R. Mahoney
  • Christine A. Sinsky


Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised as a transformational force in healthcare. This paper presents a current environmental scan, through the eyes of primary care physicians, of the top ten ways AI will impact primary care and its key stakeholders. We discuss ten distinct problem spaces and the most promising AI innovations in each, estimating potential market sizes and the Quadruple Aims that are most likely to be affected. Primary care is where the power, opportunity, and future of AI are most likely to be realized in the broadest and most ambitious scale. We propose how these AI-powered innovations must augment, not subvert, the patient–physician relationship for physicians and patients to accept them. AI implemented poorly risks pushing humanity to the margins; done wisely, AI can free up physicians’ cognitive and emotional space for patients, and shift the focus away from transactional tasks to personalized care. The challenge will be for humans to have the wisdom and willingness to discern AI’s optimal role in twenty-first century healthcare, and to determine when it strengthens and when it undermines human healing. Ongoing research will determine the impact of AI technologies in achieving better care, better health, lower costs, and improved well-being of the workforce.


artificial intelligence primary care Quadruple Aim patient–physician relationship 



The authors thank Rebecca Rolfe, MS, for her creative and technical support on the manuscript figure.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

SYL is the PI on a research project sponsored by Google to understand how deep learning techniques and automatic speech recognition can facilitate clinical documentation. Google had no role in the preparation of this manuscript and the decision to approve publication of the finished manuscript. SYL has no financial interests to declare.

MRM and SYL collaborated with Babylon Health to write clinical case vignettes to train a triage and diagnosis software. Babylon Health had no role in the preparation of this manuscript and the decision to approve publication of the finished manuscript. Neither have any conflicts of interest to declare.

CAS has no conflicts of interest to declare.


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven Y. Lin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Megan R. Mahoney
    • 1
  • Christine A. Sinsky
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Primary Care and Population Health, Department of MedicineStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA
  2. 2.American Medical AssociationChicagoUSA

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