Having just celebrated its first birthday, one may assume that: “In just a year, is it possible for an internet application to become an inescapable role of daily life?” But this is just what ChatGPT has done.
This Large Language Model (LLM) chatbot has glued itself to the globe. Anyone with accessibility to the internet has either heard of or is using ChatGPT.
Just a quick reflection on the past year can demonstrate the significant impact ChatGPT has made in 2023.
The increasing presence of this artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot in our lives has sparked both confusion and controversy. While some think it provides the ideal solution for us to work smarter, not harder, others express concern about the overshadowing presence these AI chatbots exert on our daily routines.
Nevertheless, one point we must be able to unanimously agree on is the transformative role that ChatGPT has played in revolutionising the healthcare sector.
ChatGPT in Healthcare
Launched in November 2022, ChatGPT was immediately cast in a starring role – it seemed like no one could escape it. In the first five days of its release, the chatbot had already amassed over one million users. And, even now, the platform continues to captivate an audience of millions every day.
The reason behind ChatGPT’s vast popularity is its intelligent and multifaceted nature. This generative AI bot can engage in informative human-like conversations in an accessible and versatile way.
Its abilities have prompted ChatGPT to be swallowed up by several industries, all wishing to incorporate it to do anything and everything from writing essays, articles, briefs, summaries, and even job applications.
So, it’s no surprise that the healthcare industry is no exception in this regard. After all, this sector needs to change and adapt to stay well-equipped to face its challenges.
For a long time, the healthcare sector has relied on the newest and most cutting-edge technology to innovate new ways of streamlining operation efficiency, cutting costs, and improving patient outcomes.
Now, with the introduction of ChatGPT, there are even more potential technological applications that can shape and improve how healthcare is carried out today.
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Utilising ChatGPT in customer service is not something exclusive to the healthcare sector. After all, ChatGPT’s ability to hold a human-like conversation makes it the perfect tool for such interaction.
ChatGPT can be integrated into healthcare websites to interact with customers and answer simple questions that may otherwise waste an employee’s time to repeatedly need to answer.
A Virtual Assistant
A step further than a simple customer service tool has seen a ChatGPT virtual assistant that can help website users, for example, book patient appointments and manage their account and health information with ease.
ChatGPT can be used in medical education to provide students with accessible and instant access to the information and resources necessary for their academic development.
Of course, the clinical support ChatGPT can offer should be taken with a pinch of salt. It can’t simply be relied upon to call the shots (something we would all dearly hope is being left to the medical professionals), but this doesn’t mean it can’t offer some clinical decision support.
ChatGPT can supply real-time recommendations on suggested treatments, such as potential effective drug prescriptions.
Due to its ability to analyse large amounts of data, ChatGPT can store and summarise patient medical histories, allowing it to streamline the record-keeping process.
Reduced Workload on Staff
By automating routine tasks and handling common queries, ChatGPT can alleviate the workload on healthcare staff, allowing them to allocate more time to complex cases and direct patient care.
Unless you have a background in medical education, deciphering lengthy prescription guidelines or complex documents received from a GP can feel daunting. ChatGPT can help to quickly and accurately translate medical jargon into layman’s terms so patients can easily gain a comprehensive understanding of their diagnosis, treatment choices, and medical instructions.
Support for Mental Health
ChatGPT has the potential to assist in mental health support by providing resources, coping strategies, and even engaging in therapeutic conversations. This can help bridge gaps in mental health services and even reduce the workload on mental healthcare staff.
ChatGPT certainly has its uses in the healthcare sector. But one must ask: Is this wise? And even: Is this ethically sound?
After all, granting ChatGPT access to our medical history for record-keeping and other checks may raise concerns about privacy invasion, given the implications of data protection.
Another concern also centres around an obvious point: When it comes to health, the necessity for precision and care is paramount. Not everyone will want to put their health and safety in the hands of an internet application. Allowing ChatGPT to influence an individual’s health decisions raises significant concern for potential inaccuracies.
It’s imperative to consistently examine whether the use of any technology, particularly artificial intelligence (being a comparatively new and unregulated innovation), is being conducted ethically and safely. And, in the healthcare sector, where the stakes are exceptionally high, the ethical considerations of this point are even more pronounced.
Nonetheless, it’s difficult to overlook the benefits that ChatGPT brings to the healthcare sector. And, as long as it is used wisely, we can anticipate a future where healthcare embraces digital transformation in a secure, reliable, and efficient manner.