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ChatGPT’s Role in Assisting Doctors

6 min read

The current treatment approach is standardized worldwide, with some deviations. Let’s take the example of a patient with severe shortness of breath who is admitted to a hospital.

The first thing to do is to alleviate the symptoms. Doctors perform several tests to get more information about the patient’s condition. These tests provide data that helps doctors get closer to a conclusive diagnosis.

In some cases, a panel of doctors from different specialties with different perspectives is assembled to discuss the patient’s case.

Based on the clinical picture and the results of the examination, the patient is prescribed appropriate medication. The result of the treatment depends on various factors, including the patient’s age, the severity of the disease, the treatment method chosen and the patient’s immune system.

Below are some comments on the current treatment approach:

  • Treating serious illnesses can be time-consuming, expensive, painful and distressing for patients and their families;
  • Data on the patient is crucial in such cases as it provides important information about medical history, current condition and response to treatment;
  • The data play an important role in determining the treatment approach;
  • One benefit physicians have is the ability to compare patient data, especially among patients with similar medical conditions and other relevant factors.

Physicians ideally focus on treating patients, but often spend a significant amount of time on administrative tasks such as writing grant applications, filing claims with health insurance companies, and documenting medical histories. This administrative burden limits the time available for direct patient care.

ChatGPT use cases

While the current treatment approach is effective, it still has room for improvement, and ChatGPT can potentially play a valuable role in assisting physicians.

This section discusses the use cases of ChatGPT as a tool for physicians.

Write simple things

Physicians’ time is often consumed by tasks such as writing grant applications, submitting cases to health insurance companies, and documenting patient histories, which can be mundane and time-consuming.

ChatGPT could take over these tasks for the doctors so that they can focus on more important and productive tasks.

Show more compassion and empathy

Patients and their loved ones have high expectations of physicians, not only for effective treatment, but also for compassion and empathy. Without these qualities, the patient experience can be severely compromised.

Interestingly, has Peter Lee, corporate vice president of research and incubations at Microsoft found that doctors use ChatGPT to improve their ability to express empathy and compassion.

Medical professionals have started using ChatGPT to request scripts to help them communicate with patients, their families and friends in a more compassionate way. For example, ChatGPT can provide scripts to help doctors deliver difficult messages with sensitivity and care.

Deciphering the medical jargon

dr Michael Pignone, Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Texas at Austin, provided an insightful example of how ChatGPT can demystify medical terminology for non-experts.

Pignone illustrated this with a project aimed at improving the treatment of alcohol problems. The initial question, “How do we address patients who are not responding to behavioral therapy?” can be difficult for a layperson to understand.

However, with the help of ChatGPT, the translation could be simplified to: “How can doctors better help patients who drink excessively but have been unable to stop even after talking to a therapist?”

While it took multiple interactions and adjustments to refine ChatGPT’s responses, the end result was satisfying.

Improving telemedicine

Telemedicine has seen a significant boost in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, and ChatGPT can play a valuable role in this space in a number of ways:

Improved patient interaction ChatGPT can greatly enhance the experience of interacting with new and existing patients.

By using natural language processing (NLP), a more human-like and personal interaction can be enabled compared to rigid, robotic scripts, resulting in a better patient experience and greater satisfaction.

Based on the patient’s medical history Thanks to its ability to understand and use contextual and background information, ChatGPT is able to conduct primary interactions with existing patients based on their medical history, previous treatments, prescribed medications and physician recommendations.

This allows for a more informed and efficient conversation, allowing doctors to better address patients’ concerns.

Facilitate new appointments For new appointments, ChatGPT can help by suggesting suitable doctors based on the patient’s specific medical conditions, history and complaints.

By analyzing relevant data and matching it with the expertise and specialization of healthcare professionals, ChatGPT can provide valuable recommendations, thereby simplifying the process of finding the right doctor for the patient’s needs.

Help in research

Heather Mattie, associate professor of public health at Harvard University, has conducted research modeling social relationships and HIV. She used ChatGPT in her work and the results exceeded her expectations.

Mattie expressed surprise at how the tool was able to reconcile opposing theories, exceeding her expectations. She also highlighted ChatGPT’s potential in summarizing text for research purposes.

In addition, physicians and researchers can already use ChatGPT to study cases and improve their diagnostic skills and develop more effective treatment strategies. They can collect various data and analytics, e.g. B. to evaluate the effectiveness of different treatment methods for certain diseases.

Usage Restrictions

Because it is about treating diseases, it is important to ensure that ChatGPT never takes a leading role in determining a patient’s treatment. Doctors and researchers should take the tool’s results with a pinch of salt.

Heather Mattie, an associate professor of public health at Harvard University, emphasizes that researchers studying cardiac and critical care injuries must be very careful. This caution is necessary because ChatGPT may reveal racial bias or discrimination when providing information (see also: Can AI have bias?).

When Mattie viewed ChatGPT’s findings in relation to research modeling social relationships and HIV, he questioned the reliability of the information generated. It would be a great challenge to separate factual information from the results.

There are mixed opinions in the medical community about the usefulness of ChatGPT. While some doctors believe it can improve their compassion, empathy, and access to reliable information, others remain skeptical. dr Dev Dash, a member of Stanford Health Care’s data science team, expressed his reservations, saying:

I know doctors use this. I’ve heard of residents using it to support their clinical decisions. I don’t think it’s appropriate.

He further explained that while ChatGPT can provide some correct answers, the answers are generally contradictory or incorrect.

Relying on such answers for medical treatment or conclusions can be disastrous.

The bottom line

Although ChatGPT is currently demonstrating valuable applications and offers potential for future use cases, its current role is limited to supporting physicians in various capacities. Despite the impressive capabilities of its large language model (LLM) and machine learning (ML), they are insufficient to guide or dictate treatment decisions.

There are too many doubts about his answers, data sources and opinions. Medical treatment is an extremely sensitive area and missteps are in most cases irreversible. After weighing the pros and cons, the risks of involvement in patient care far outweigh the benefits. ChatGPT needs to evolve until it has enough trust and credibility with the entire medical community.

Concerns remain about the reliability of his answers, data sources, and opinions. The field of medical treatment, due to its sensitivity, requires extreme caution and any mistakes can have irreversible consequences.

In order to achieve widespread adoption, ChatGPT needs to evolve to gain trust and establish credibility in the medical community.

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