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ChatGPT news has been flooding tech news feeds since its debut last year, flooring users and the public alike with amazing capabilities from writing poetry to generating code. Industries have taken notice, and many are looking for ways to bring the AI-powered chatbot into commercial use.
Healthcare is one of those industries. Here we will be examining three exciting possibilities of using ChatCPT as a medical chatbot for one’s medical panel PC.
As a Medical Chatbot
This was a no brainer. Current chatbots used in healthcare, though, primarily function to greet patients, guide them to the correct department and personnel, or give requested information like phone numbers. Think of a glorified automated telephone answering “tree” and you’re not far off the mark.
A medical chatbot is decidedly more sophisticated. First, its artificial intelligence would be trained with valid and verified medical databases, not what’s trending on the Internet. This makes its replies more trustworthy and traceable. The latter is especially important as many current bots like ChatGPT do not reveal their sources of information, a big no-no in medicine.
With far greater access to vetted medical information, a medical chatbot can do an initial assessment, or triage, of the patient. It can ask questions of increasing complexity and sophistication to narrow down symptoms.
The results can then be presented to the doctor (or allied medical staff like a physician assistant or nurse practitioner) who can use it during the exam. The bot may even present forms of treatment based on the information. Regardless, the result is the patient being seen and treated faster without loss of quality of care.
Providing Tailored Discharge Instructions
Discharge instructions are a summary of a patient’s visit with a doctor. Included in many of them are instructions ranging from next appointment visits to lists of medications to take.
Many patients find discharge instructions confusing or incomprehensible. The elderly, those with mental issues, or both, especially may have a difficult time.
Then there are those patients who find them lacking in details. They actually want more information, either for peace of mind or to explain to others (e.g., a parent comforting a sick child).
ChatGPT can help. It can be instructed to tailor the discharge instructions per the patient’s wants and needs. Instead of listing all the symptoms examined at the visit, for example, the doctor can instruct the bot to create a 250-word summary at an eighth grade reading level. Still too much? Then make it 100 words readable by a fifth grader.
In the other direction, the discharge instructions can greatly be expanded. Every symptom is now discussed, the pros and cons of each and every treatment is detailed, and links to the latest medical journals are now provided.
The patient in either case is satisfied. And it’s well-known that a satisfied person is more willing to comply with the discharge instructions. This in turn leads to a better outcome for them as well as high marks for the medical group.
Finally, ChatGPT can help stem the tide of physicians leaving the industry.
Today’s physicians are drowning in paperwork. They even have a nickname for it: pajama time. These are the hours spent, usually after one’s shift or – most often – over the weekend, on such administrative tasks as:
- Updating patients’ electronic medical records (EMR)
- Replying to patient voicemails
- Answering patient emails
- Going over lab tests
- Returning other physicians’ calls
- Writing prescription requests
- Writing up drafts for insurance companies to justify payment for a valid medical test/procedure/drug
Doctors on average spend between 15 to 20 hours a week on administrative tasks. This is on top of their regular 50 to 60 hours seeing patients. It’s no wonder there’s a nearly 200,000 shortage of doctors in the US.
ChatGPT can help deal with all this paperwork. They have already been used to generate appeal letters, for example, to insurance agencies. In that case, the doctor entered the patient’s info in the bot, then asked it to write up an appeal letter to cover medical procedures or medications. It did so in a fraction of the time if the doctor had done it manually.
Other, similar, administrative tasks could be handled over to chatbots to process as efficiently. This frees the doctor, who can then deal with either more pressing medical matters, get a better work-life balance, or suffer less daily stress. All these result in less chance of early retirement by doctors from a strapped healthcare system.
ChatGPT has shown amazing abilities in its short existence. Leveraged right, it can assist industries like healthcare as it helps medical personnel be more productive without loss of quality care.