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When Doctors Use Chatbots AI to Improve Their Bedside Manner

A recent study found that Chatbots, an AI language model, demonstrated a better “bedside manner” than some doctors regarding the quality and empathy of written advice.

While this highlights the potential for AI assistants to assist in medical practice, it is essential to consider the limitations and responsibilities associated with incorporating chatbots in healthcare.

This article discusses the study’s findings and the potential benefits and challenges of utilizing Chatbots AI to improve doctor and patient communication.

The Study’s Findings

Doctors Use Chatbots to Improve Their Bedside Manner

The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, analyzed data from Reddit’s AskDocs forum, where verified healthcare professionals answer medical questions posted by members.

Researchers randomly selected 195 exchanges where a human doctor responded to general questions. The same questions were then presented to Chatbots, which responded. A panel of three licensed healthcare professionals, unaware of the source of the answers, assessed and rated them for quality and empathy.

Chatbot’s responses were preferred over human doctors’ responses by the panel 79% of the time. Furthermore, Chatbot’s answers were rated good or very good quality 79% of the time, compared to only 22% for doctors.

Regarding empathy, 45% of Chatbot’s answers were rated as empathic or very empathic, while only 5% of doctors’ replies received the same rating.

Benefits and Considerations

Doctors Use Chatbots to Improve Their Bedside Manner

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The study’s findings suggest that tools like Chatbot can assist in drafting personalized and high-quality medical advice for review by clinicians. Incorporating such technology into healthcare has the potential to enhance doctor-patient communication. It can provide doctors with a valuable resource to support patient interactions, ensuring more precise and empathic communication.

However, it is crucial to note that the study does not propose replacing doctors with Chatbots. Instead, it calls for further research to explore how Chatbot can effectively assist physicians in generating responses.

Chatbot’s likability and tendency to provide longer, chattier answers may have influenced the higher ratings it received. These factors should be carefully considered when integrating chatbots into medical practice.

Cautionary Considerations

While Chatbot demonstrated promising results in quality and empathy, concerns were raised about its reliability in providing factual information. Language models, including Chatbot, have generated “facts” that are inaccurate or wholly fabricated.

Therefore, it is essential to ensure that human clinicians thoroughly review and verify any information provided by chatbots.

Conclusion

The study highlights the potential of AI assistants, such as Chatbot, to improve doctor-patient communication by offering high-quality and empathic responses. These tools can assist clinicians in drafting medical advice and facilitating more effective interactions with patients. However, it is crucial to acknowledge the limitations and risks associated with relying solely on chatbots for medical information.

Continued research and collaboration between AI technology and healthcare professionals will be vital to harnessing the benefits of AI while ensuring patient safety and accurate medical advice.

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