The following is a summary of “Competencies for the Use of Artificial Intelligence in Primary Care” published in the November 2022 issue of Family Medicine by Liaw et al.

Finally, the far-reaching but perennially underfunded primary care platform is feeling the effects of the AI revolution in the healthcare industry. Despite AI’s promise to help achieve the Quintuple Aim (improved patient outcomes, improved population health, and greater health equity at reduced costs and without compromising clinician well-being), failure to invest in primary care training in the use of AI-based tools risks having the opposite effect, imposing harm and exacerbating inequalities.

Therefore, proper medical education and training will be essential to maximize possible benefits and limit hazards, as AI-based tools have an impact on these goals. To facilitate this training, researchers propose 6 domains of competency for the effective deployment of AI-based tools in primary care: foundational knowledge (what is this tool?), critical appraisal (should I use this tool?), medical decision making (when should I use this tool?), technical use (how do I use this tool?), patient communication (how should I communicate with patients regarding the use of this tool?), and awareness of unintended consequences (what are the “side effects” of this tool?). 

Given the breadth of knowledge already included in family medicine training and the rapid evolution of technology, integrating these competencies will take time and effort. The sooner these obstacles are addressed, the sooner the primary care staff and individuals it serves can realize the benefits of even small increases in AI-relevant training.