Doctors could be stepping into the future soon as researchers from the University of Liverpool recently tested whether the AI-powered chatbot, ChatGPT could be used to make decisions about prescribing antibiotics.
In a letter published in The Lancet scientist from the institute of systems, molecular and integrative biology said that while artificial intelligence cannot replace your family doctor, there is clear potential for AI technology to play a role in clinical practice.
Jump scare! But here’s how
The British researchers presented ChatGPT with eight hypothetical infection scenarios that people commonly consulted their family physician about. Think respiratory infections.
The group then assessed the advice delivered by the AI technology for appropriateness, consistency, and impact on patient safety.
“The assessment found that ChatGPT understood the scenarios and provided coherent answers, including disclaimers, and signposting patients to sources of advice,” scientists said in their letter.
Error, error, error
However, ChatGPT provided unsafe advice in complex scenarios where important information was not explicitly provided.
The system focused on the type of antibiotic prescribed in each scenario rather than other factors, reflecting the assumptions often initially made by doctors during consultation.
Following the experiment, the researchers have now developed a checklist for standards that AI should meet to be considered for use in clinical practice in the future.
Co-author of the letter, Dr Alex Howard said, “It was fascinating to see the potential of artificial intelligence in healthcare demonstrated through this experiment testing ChatGPT’s ability to give antibiotic treatment advice.
“While the rise of antibiotic resistance poses a significant threat to global health, the ability of AI to provide accurate and safe treatment advice could revolutionise the way we approach patient care. We look forward to further exploration of this technology and its implications for the future of healthcare.”
Get the Health For Mzansi newsletter: Your bi-weekly dose of kasi health, wellness and self-care inspiration.