Doctors Are Using ChatGPT to Improve How They Talk to Patients

Still, those who have tried ChatGPT say the only way for doctors to decide how comfortable they would feel about handing over tasks — such as cultivating an empathetic approach or chart reading — is to ask it some questions themselves.

“You’d be crazy not to give it a try and learn more about what it can do,” Dr. Krumholz said.

Microsoft wanted to know that, too, and with OpenAI, gave some academic doctors, including Dr. Kohane, early access to GPT-4, the updated version that was released in March, with a monthly fee.

Dr. Kohane said he approached generative A.I. as a skeptic. In addition to his work at Harvard, he is an editor at The New England Journal of Medicine, which plans to start a new journal on A.I. in medicine next year.

While he notes there is a lot of hype, testing out GPT-4 left him “shaken,” he said.

For example, Dr. Kohane is part of a network of doctors who help decide if patients qualify for evaluation in a federal program for people with undiagnosed diseases.

It’s time-consuming to read the letters of referral and medical histories and then decide whether to grant acceptance to a patient. But when he shared that information with ChatGPT, it “was able to decide, with accuracy, within minutes, what it took doctors a month to do,” Dr. Kohane said.

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