AI provides higher quality answers and is more empathetic than real doctors, a study suggests.
A study by the University of California San Diego compared written replies from doctors and those from ChatGPT to real-world health queries to see which came out on top.
A panel of healthcare professionals preferred ChatGPT’s responses 79 percent of the time and rated them higher quality in terms of the information provided and more understanding. The panel did not know which was which.
ChatGPT recently caused a stir in the medical community after it was found capable of passing the gold-standard exam required to practice medicine in the US, raising the prospect it could one day replace human doctors.
Jessica Kelley, a nurse practitioner with San Diego firm Human Longevity and study co-author, said: ‘ChatGPT messages responded with nuanced and accurate information that often addressed more aspects of the patient’s questions than physician responses.’
The research team from the University of California San Diego looked to Reddit’s AskDocs forum, where roughly 452,000 members post medical problems and verified healthcare professionals offer suggestions.
Anyone can answer a question on the forum, but moderators check healthcare professional’s credentials and the replies display the respondent’s level of expertise.
While question-answer exchanges on social media are not the traditional way a patient speaks to a doctor, the panel said the conversations were reflective of their clinical experience.
The UC San Diego research team randomly chose 195 exchanges from AskDocs where a verified doctor had replied to a public question.
The team put the original question to ChatGPT and asked it to write a response.
A panel of three doctors reviewed each exchange and were blinded as to which was physician-written and which was written by AI.
One of the patient’s questions was: ‘Question about risk of going blind following bleach being splashed into an eye, resulting in irritated and dry eye.’
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