ChatGPT's promising progress in healthcare

ChatGPT, the AI-based chatbot developed by OpenAI, was released in November and has already been showing promising results for the healthcare industry as it can pass several benchmarking exams and was found to be more empathetic than physicians in answering patient questions. 

The AI-based bot has been successful at passing four national benchmarking exams. 

ChatGPT scored a 58 percent on a study exam used by physicians preparing for ophthalmology board certification, passed exams associated with the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam and passed a Stanford (Calif.) Medical School clinical reasoning exam with a score of 72 percent.

It was also found to be better at providing more empathetic answers to patient questions. 

In an April 28 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers compared two sets of written responses to 195 real-world patient questions. 

The physician responses were sourced from patient questions asked on Reddit, while the other responses were written by ChatGPT. 

The sets of responses were evaluated by a three-member panel of licensed healthcare professionals, with 79 percent preferring the answers of ChatGPT. 

The technology is also being piloted by health systems to see if it can tackle documentation burdens for clinicians.

UC San Diego Health, Madison, Wis.-based UW Health and Palo Alto, Calif.-based Stanford Health Care are among the first healthcare organizations to pilot a new integration from Epic Systems and Microsoft that uses Azure OpenAI to draft messages within the EHR to patients. 

If these pilots are successful, the new tool could have the potential to reduce administrative burden on physicians that costs U.S. healthcare $1 trillion annually.

Other health systems and hospitals have also been gearing up for the new technology by hiring engineers who have expertise using ChatGPT.

John Brownstein, PhD, chief innovation officer of Boston Children's, told Becker's that the organization is hiring a prompt engineer to work on large language models such as ChatGPT.

Dr. Brownstein said having an in-house expert on this technology will help Boston Children's identify use cases and train its workforce on the most appropriate uses.

The person will help Boston Children's design and develop prompts to effectively gather data from generative AI programs and refine the models for healthcare-specific applications.

Although many organizations are in their early stages of studying and piloting these tools, many leaders are excited about the future with them, stating generative AI like ChatGPT can really bring change to the industry. 

"We haven't seen this kind of level of innovation since the search engine or iPhone," Dr. Brownstein told Becker's. "For instance, using AI to respond to patients' emails or to generate post-discharge notes automatically will help bring back a love of practicing medicine for many of our providers."

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