ChatGPT has healthcare potential but needs guardrails, surgeon says


Alan Reznik, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Connecticut Orthopaedics in Hamden, connected with Becker's to discuss how ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence programs will evolve in healthcare.

Editor's note: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length. 

Dr. Alan Reznik: The question is, "Can generative AI like ChatGPT be useful in medicine and how will it change the way we practice in the future?"

Machine learning AI and various other computer algorithms are already being used in radiology, pathology, data analysis and EKG readings. ChatGPT is the latest version of AI applications and represents a new pathway for processing information through a large language model. In its current form, generative AI can predict the next word or sentence needed in a sequence when queried on a topic. It can uniquely use its analysis of a huge amount of human created writing or data to produce what a human might say when asked the same question or put into a given scenario. As a predictive model, it can put information together in a unique way. 

There is little doubt it will be used in medicine to assemble data, aid in physician guided diagnosis, and help educate patients as to diagnosis, treatments, and/or clinical options. It has already been shown it can act as a conversational companion, friend, interviewer and role play partner. These actions could help teach clinical interviewing skills and even treat depression. Since there is no clear understanding yet of all its capabilities and many of its responses may not be 100 percent factual, there is real caution required as it is applied. Guardrails are needed; data used for training may need to be assessed for bias; and for many clinical applications, there may need to be a specific human supervisor requirement to protect patients from conversations going sideways.

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