Study finds ChatGPT might show more empathy than doctors
According to a new study, OpenAI's ChatGPT platform can respond to patient inquiries with greater empathy than human doctors.
According to a new study, AI may potentially be able to respond to patient inquiries with greater empathy than human doctors.
Researchers from the University of California San Diego, La Jolla used a randomly selected sample of 200 patient inquiries from Reddit's AskDocs social media forum for the study, which was published on Friday in the academic journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
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The questions were then addressed to ChatGPT and real doctors. Both of the responses to each question were evaluated by a clinical team who gave them grades based on the quality of the responses and the level of empathy shown. The chatbot emerged victorious. Nearly 80% of the time, judges chose the computer's response over the doctor's.
Lead author John Ayers, an epidemiologist from the University of California San Diego, La Jolla, told Axios that it was "obvious" AI performed better due to it not being constrained by time.
"You could take a simple query like: 'I have a headache, can you help me?' and you'll immediately see ChatGPT say 'I'm sorry you have a headache,'" Ayers said. "The doctor knows that, they feel that. They don't have time to say it."
There is growing interest in using AI to combat burnout.
Companies including Microsoft, Google, and Amazon demonstrated their work utilizing generative AI to target mundane chores like paperwork during the recent HIMSS Conference, according to CNBC.
David Asch, a professor of medicine and senior vice dean at the University of Pennsylvania spoke to CNN regarding his own experience. He recalls that it didn't sound like someone was speaking to him but rather that someone was "trying to be very comprehensive."
The discovery, however, strengthens the case for the idea that technology may be able to fill in on healthcare duties that are time-consuming for doctors yet have a significant influence on patients' treatment.
Ayers said that should encourage regulators to intervene and set up incentives and barriers to make sure that happens safely. "Clearly, millions of people out there need answers, they want answers," Ayers said. "Now, maybe we can get it to them by improving the workflow, and maybe those improved answers can save their lives."
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