The Importance of Explainability for AI Success in Primary Care

Medically Reviewed By: Dr Gideon Kwok

Image Credit: Microsoft Designer

Key Takeaways

  • Explainability in AI fosters trust between physicians and patients, ensuring informed and confident medical decisions.
  • Transparent AI helps identify and correct potential biases, paving the way for more impartial and effective care.
  • An understandable AI mechanism is pivotal for navigating the legal and regulatory aspects of healthcare, setting the stage for a harmonious future between tech and medicine.

Interested in more insights on AI in healthcare?

The rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has touched every industry, including the intricate world of primary care. As we increasingly incorporate machine learning models into patient care, the term ‘explainability’ frequently comes into play. But why is it so crucial? Let’s dive deep into the intricacies of why explainability isn’t just a luxury, but an absolute necessity for AI’s meaningful adoption in primary care.

Unraveling the Trust Conundrum

Demystifying AI for Physicians:

While AI promises enhanced diagnostics and patient outcome predictions, primary care physicians (PCPs) are trained in evidence-based medicine. They rely on years of experience, coupled with tangible evidence. When AI suggests a diagnosis or a treatment plan, PCPs need to understand the ‘why’ behind the recommendation to integrate it into their practice confidently.

Reassuring the Patient Community:

Patients often come to primary care with anxieties and uncertainties. Introducing AI without clarity might add to their apprehension. If a PCP can explain how AI arrived at a certain conclusion, it can significantly alleviate patient concerns and make them more receptive to AI-enhanced treatments.

Interpreting AI for Better Medical Outcomes

Personalized Treatment Plans:

The beauty of primary care is in its individualized approach. When AI provides insights, they need contextualization. By understanding AI’s rationale, a PCP can modify its recommendations, tailoring treatment plans according to each patient’s unique requirements.

Handling Multifaceted Cases:

Patients often present with overlapping symptoms that could belong to various disorders. An explainable AI would let doctors understand the decision hierarchy of the AI, ensuring that no symptom is overlooked or misinterpreted.

Mitigating the Shadows of Bias

Recognizing and Addressing Embedded Prejudices:

AI’s conclusions derive from vast datasets. Sometimes, these datasets can have inherent biases. By making AI’s decision-making transparent, we can discern, address, and correct these biases, ensuring a more impartial care system.

Navigating the Regulatory Labyrinth

Legal and Ethical Justifications:

In a domain where mistakes can be life-altering, being answerable is critical. If an untoward event arises due to AI, having an explainable mechanism can pinpoint where things went awry, aiding in accountability and subsequent corrective measures.

Empowering the Future of Medicine

Augmented Training Protocols:

Medical students are the torchbearers of the future. By ensuring they can grasp the inner workings of AI in primary care, we’re setting the foundation for a seamlessly integrated, tech-forward healthcare landscape.

Catalyzing Research and Development:

Explainability isn’t just about understanding current AI models but also about building upon them. When researchers can comprehend these models’ strengths and weaknesses, they can innovate more effectively, driving the evolution of AI in primary care.


The marriage of AI and primary care has the potential to redefine medical landscapes. However, for this union to be successful, AI cannot remain an inscrutable black box. Explainability ensures that as we step into the future, we do so with clarity, confidence, and the collective goal of elevating patient care to unprecedented heights

Want to stay ahead in the evolving landscape of primary care?

MarkiTech.AI is a team of over 50 software engineers, data scientists and clinicians plus other health practitioners who have developed over 40 digital health solutions in the last 10 years such as SenSights.AI, and which focus on helping older adults and their caregivers like family, physicians, nurses etc., age in place, reduce costs and improve revenue opportunities.