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Surgeons' perspectives on artificial intelligence to support clinical decision-making in trauma and emergency contexts: results from an international survey.

BACKGROUND: Artificial intelligence (AI) is gaining traction in medicine and surgery. AI-based applications can offer tools to examine high-volume data to inform predictive analytics that supports complex decision-making processes. Time-sensitive trauma and emergency contexts are often challenging. The study aims to investigate trauma and emergency surgeons' knowledge and perception of using AI-based tools in clinical decision-making processes.

METHODS: An online survey grounded on literature regarding AI-enabled surgical decision-making aids was created by a multidisciplinary committee and endorsed by the World Society of Emergency Surgery (WSES). The survey was advertised to 917 WSES members through the society's website and Twitter profile.

RESULTS: 650 surgeons from 71 countries in five continents participated in the survey. Results depict the presence of technology enthusiasts and skeptics and surgeons' preference toward more classical decision-making aids like clinical guidelines, traditional training, and the support of their multidisciplinary colleagues. A lack of knowledge about several AI-related aspects emerges and is associated with mistrust.

DISCUSSION: The trauma and emergency surgical community is divided into those who firmly believe in the potential of AI and those who do not understand or trust AI-enabled surgical decision-making aids. Academic societies and surgical training programs should promote a foundational, working knowledge of clinical AI.

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