OpenAI’s ChatGPT has taken the internet by storm since its release last November, and its impressive ability to chat in such a humanlike way is already being applied to many different industries. In particular, it has shown great promise for the healthcare industry, notably passing several physician’s benchmark exams and showing greater empathy when answering questions from patients.
If you’re not familiar with ChatGPT already, it’s a generative artificial intelligence-powered chatbot that relies on natural language processing technology. It has been trained on massive amounts of data – essentially the entire public internet as of 2021 – and can respond to text inputs in a uniquely human and conversational manner.
ChatGPT’s capabilities have been put to the test in numerous ways, and it has successfully passed no less than four U.S. benchmarking examinations for physicians. For instance, it recently scored 58% on an exam that’s used to prepare physicians for ophthalmology board certification. It also passed a Stanford Medical School clinical reasoning exam, achieving a 72% score, plus two tests associated with the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination board.
How Can ChatGPT Improve Healthcare?
In terms of what ChatGPT can do for the healthcare industry, the potential applications are manifold. The most obvious use case is to employ ChatGPT as a chatbot, responding to patients’ queries and processing the information they provide. It can help to schedule appointments with doctors, manage reminders, and more, with everything done in real-time. The result would be faster resolutions to patient’s queries and increased engagement and satisfaction. It would also free up healthcare professionals to make more efficient use of their time.
ChatGPT would streamline the mundane administrative tasks involved in healthcare, expediting insurance approvals and reducing waiting times while eliminating the potential for human error in medical paperwork. It could even help physicians with tasks such as note-taking and summarizing. The benefits of ChatGPT performing such tasks would include faster access to critical patient data for physicians and other professionals, more accurate and better-updated records, and streamlined communication between healthcare providers and the various departments within them.
Generative AI technology can even contribute to patient care, performing tasks such as symptom assessment. ChatGPT could be employed to ask patients questions about their symptoms, and then evaluate their responses to come up with a possible diagnosis. Once the patient has been diagnosed with a high degree of confidence, they can be directed to the most appropriate healthcare department. Doing so could reduce the burden on emergency departments and help patients to receive the right care more promptly.
Another application envisaged for ChatGPT in healthcare is the planning of medical treatment plans. For example, doctors could ask ChatGPT’s opinion to make an informed decision on what the best treatment options are for a particular patient. ChatGPT can assist in this due to its ability to instantly access relevant medical data and suggest possible treatments.
Some experts have even proposed using ChatGPT to facilitate mental health treatments and follow-up care. Proponents say the technology, with its ability to empathize with patients, could provide an important source of emotional support and suggest coping strategies. It would also serve to remind patients of their coming appointments and provide continuous support to outpatients.
The Deployment Challenge
Healthcare providers face significant challenges in deploying ChatGPT, however. For generative AI models to succeed, the scope and quality of the datasets used to train them are of paramount importance. Chatbots need to be trained on comprehensive datasets to provide accurate and reliable responses and suggestions.
Medical datasets must therefore be composed of a diverse range of subjects to ensure it is both knowledgeable and able to provide relevant information. They must also cover multiple different contexts so that the AI can provide contextually accurate answers. Finally, the datasets should cover multiple languages so that the model can communicate effectively with a wider audience. That’s especially important in a country like the U.S., where various estimates show that the number of Spanish speakers ranges from anywhere between 41 million and 50 million.
The healthcare industry has plenty of data, but one of the main issues is that this information is siloed among the database systems of each healthcare provider. Another challenge lies in ensuring patient privacy is respected. Whatever data is used to train ChatGPT and other generative AI models will need to comply with the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA.
HIPAA compliance is essential so that ChatGPT can ensure patient data is kept secure and private. At present, ChatGPT is not able to adhere to HIPAA regulations, but several solutions to this problem have been proposed. One of the most promising could be to pair ChatGPT with a blockchain-based database that enables medical data to be shared confidentially. There have been dozens of studies that show how blockchain is uniquely able to enable the secure sharing of healthcare data in a way that remains fully compliant.
The good news is that startups are already making progress on HIPAA-compliant blockchain platforms that provide an alternative to the highly centralized, legacy database systems used by healthcare providers today.
HIPAA-compliant blockchain platform Patientory’s mission is to democratize healthcare data by empowering patients with full ownership of their health records. By providing patients with access to both their medical and lifestyle data, Patientory says it can deliver better insights that help people healthier lives. At the same time, healthcare providers benefit from having access to a decentralized, national health database.
The secret sauce behind Patientory is its PTOYMatrix blockchain architecture, which enables it to decentralize health data while ensuring it remains fully secured. It solves healthcare data access challenges securely by providing patients with full ownership of that information. It then incentivizes users to share their health data securely with personalized healthcare plans and rewards for healthy behaviour. All data transferred via the app is done so via encryption, solving any security worries.
ChatGPT Cannot Be Ignored
The possible advantages of generative AI are too big for the industry to ignore. If ChatGPT were to be trained on a fully HIPAA-compliant database such as Patientory, it would open the floodgates to the rapid adoption of generative AI in healthcare.
The industry would need to proceed with caution, carefully measuring the impact of generative AI on patient outcomes and ensuring it remains accurate and trustworthy. But by continuously refining how it is applied, it’s clear ChatGPT will help to optimize processes and drive more efficient healthcare systems, leading to better patient outcomes and longer lives.