Irrespective of who you follow on your social channels, there’s one topic that has dominated the headlines recently: ChatGPT. With over 100 million users signing up to the platform in two months, and 13 million unique visitors per day in January1, there’s been no escaping the topic.
Many industries are now grappling to understand how this new and emerging technology could be utilised to change their everyday work and the opportunities it could unlock. As the noise around ChatGPT swirls, we’ve taken time to consider what impact this mind-blowing AI tool could have on certain healthcare audiences.
Haven’t heard of ChatGPT? Here’s a link to find out more.
How could it impact patients?
One of the most talked-about possibilities of ChatGPT for patients is as a potential replacement for the notorious ‘Dr Google’. We’ve all been there – a small cut on your hand or funny feeling in your little toe and we’re Googling away, trying to decipher which life-threatening condition it could be. Then eventually, we book a doctor’s appointment to find out it’s nothing to worry about.
Here’s where ChatGPT comes into action: it can provide personalised and timely responses to patients’ queries, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, based on the wealth of health information it’s trained on. By being incorporated into a safe and confidential healthcare platform or app, such as Babylon Health, it could also help in instances where patients are hesitant to seek care due to stigmas or fear of being judged about sensitive health issues.
Alongside answering questions, ChatGPT also has the potential to help patients with chronic conditions manage their health more effectively. Imagine being able to use continuous monitoring and personalised reminders via an integrated platform, to share timely interventions with patients, leading to better control of their conditions and improved outcomes.
Alongside the positives that come with AI innovations, there are of course numerous questions and concerns to be addressed. For example, in its current form, ChatGPT has very limited knowledge of the world after 20212, so users must be mindful of this knowledge time gap, given the speed at which science and healthcare progress. This type of limitation must be considered for real-world applications, especially ones as serious as patient care.
How about healthcare professionals (HCPs)?
HCPs are notoriously busy, having to balance time spent on patient care with routine administrative tasks. By automating routine tasks, such as appointment scheduling, ChatGPT could enable HCPs to spend more time with patients.
Harnessing the analytical power of ChatGPT could also help HCPs provide more personalised care by offering patient-specific recommendations and tailored treatment plans. By analysing patients’ medical histories and data in seconds, ChatGPT could provide HCPs with valuable insights, such as drug-drug interactions and possible adverse effects, enabling them to make more informed decisions.
Additionally, if it’s provided access to an up-to-date library of medical literature, ChatGPT could also provide HCPs with the latest information and guidance, helping them to stay on top of advances in their fields.
And not most importantly, but importantly for us… healthcare communications agencies?
So, will ChatGPT replace agency teams? By analysing health data and social media trends it can provide valuable insights about specific audiences, which in theory, should enable agencies to efficiently develop targeted programmes that will resonate with these audiences.
It’s not looking good for us agency-folk so far, but surely humans are needed to turn those insights into outputs right?
Wrong! ChatGPT also utilises its ability to understand natural language to create audience- and tone-specific outputs, streamlining the content creation process (don’t believe us? Ask ChatGPT to write you a song about the pharmaceutical industry in the style of Ed Sheeran, and then another one in the style of The Clash. As we said before, Mind. Blowing.)
But it’s not all bad news! There is still a vital role for us agency-humans to play. Think about it – if every agency starts developing content in the same way and using the same AI tools, the outputs will end up being bland and similar. So yes, maybe ChatGPT can provide us with audience insights and develop a first draft, but we must continue to use our creative and unique human input to add meaning, make it nuanced, and ensure it stands out from the crowd to create the desired impact.
What does this all mean for healthcare?
While the potential benefits of ChatGPT and other AI tools for healthcare are immense, there are also some significant challenges and considerations that need to be addressed. One of the main ones is ensuring the accuracy and reliability of the information provided by these tools. As with any AI, the output is only as good as the data it’s trained on. It’s therefore essential the user applies their own critical thinking to interpret the outputs and figure out the best way to use them. If the challenges can be addressed, then the potential is both exciting and a little scary – could we be on the cusp of the next revolution in healthcare?