In a groundbreaking study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers from the Qualcomm Institute at University of California San Diego have uncovered a potential new use for artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare. The study compared answers to medical questions from both physicians and AI assistant ChatGPT, with a panel of licensed healthcare professionals preferring ChatGPT’s responses 79% of the time.
While some may raise concerns about replacing physicians with technology, the study’s authors suggest that AI models could work in conjunction with physicians, easing the burden on doctors and improving the quality of patient care. With the ever-increasing use of virtual healthcare, physicians are faced with an overwhelming number of electronic patient messages seeking medical advice. The adoption of AI assistants such as ChatGPT could solve real-world healthcare delivery problems and impact patient health and physician performance.
While the study results are promising, the authors highlight the need for further research and investment in AI assistant messaging. Through randomised controlled trials, it will be possible to judge how the use of AI assistants impacts outcomes for both physicians and patients. Notably, integrating AI assistants into healthcare messaging could also help eliminate health disparities suffered by minority populations who often seek healthcare via messaging.
The potential for AI-augmented care is vast, with the use of AI assistants having the ability to transform the way healthcare is practiced. While the ultimate solution may not be replacing physicians altogether, it is clear that harnessing the power of AI assistants such as ChatGPT could lead to a higher quality of care and improved health outcomes for patients.