Everyone’s talking about ChatGPT, but you’ve been busy seeing patients and haven’t tried it. This article will explain ChatGPT in simple terms and provide four examples of how you could use ChatGPT as a doctor.

What is Chat GPT?

Chat GPT is an AI chatbot that uses natural language processing to create human-like conversations. It can explain things, remember previous conversations, and even apologize if it makes a mistake. Chat GPT was created by OpenAI and launched in November 2022.

“GPT” stands for “Generative Pre-Trained Transformer,” which helps explain the technology behind the tool. In simple terms, here’s how it works:

  • Generative: It can generate text, like writing an essay or answering questions. 
  • Pre-trained: Before being used for a specific task, developers trained ChatGPT on a massive amount of text from the internet. This training helps it learn grammar, facts, and even some common sense. 
  • Transformer: Transformers are a deep learning model used for tasks like translation and text summarization. Transformer is the architecture, or “brain,” of ChatGPT that makes it good at understanding and generating text. 

In simple terms, Chat GPT is like a super-smart text generator that has learned a lot from reading the internet. It’s like conversing with a knowledgeable friend who can type really fast!

Chat GPT is free at chat.openai.com, but of course, it’s not the only tool of its kind. For example, there’s Google Bard, Microsoft’s Bing AI, ChatSonic, and many others. While most AI-powered chatbots use large language models similar to ChatGPT’s, some rely on different technology. 

Getting started with ChatGPT as a doctor

Now that you know a little about ChatGPT, what are its use cases? How can you use ChatGPT in your everyday work as a doctor or resident?

Before you begin, remember that ChatGPT is a new tool and is sometimes inaccurate. As a physician, it’s up to you to verify any information it provides. Always be cautious by independently staying up-to-date on medical knowledge and verifying data from trusted sources. Avoid entering protected health information into a chatbot to ensure you stay HIPAA compliant when using Chat GPT or similar tools as a healthcare assistant.

If you use AI tools to generate medical record text, add a note about this. Always seek legal and ethical advice if you have doubts about safely and responsibly integrating AI into your medical practice. 

With those precautions in mind, here are four compelling ways physicians are using ChatGPT to improve and streamline their work.

1. Simulate medical consults

Imagine you’re an emergency room doctor faced with a complex case that requires input from a different specialist. ChatGPT can serve as a valuable virtual consultant.

You can engage the AI in a “curbside” consultation by asking about diagnoses, recommended labs and tests, and potential treatment options. This process can help you think through differential diagnoses and quickly summarize crucial information. For example, you might ask ChatGPT about the diagnostic criteria for a rare disease or the latest guidelines for managing a particular condition.

2. Check drug-drug interactions

Double-checking your knowledge of potential drug interactions is always a good idea. Physicians can input a list of a patient’s current medications, and the AI will provide feedback on potential conflicts, contraindications, or dosage adjustments.

3. Navigate sensitive conversations

Healthcare is human, and doctors often need to have sensitive conversations with patients.

Let’s say you will discuss a mental health issue like anorexia nervosa with a patient. You could explain the context to ChatGPT and ask, “What emotions and concerns might someone have if they are experiencing anorexia nervosa?” or “What questions is this person likely to have for their doctor?”

Using ChatGPT to understand the patient experience and think through effective communication strategies, you can approach sensitive conversations more empathetically and effectively. 

4. Write text more efficiently

Physicians are bogged down by a growing burden of administrative tasks, but ChatGPT can help. You can ask the chatbot to generate just about any text you would type, including after-visit summaries, referral letters, and letters of medical necessity.

Always use AI-generated content as a starting point, making edits and personalizing the text as needed. Streamlining paperwork and communication could be the most powerful ChatGPT use case for doctors, potentially eliminating hours of administrative work and allocating more time to patient care.

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