Close this search box.

An AI chatbot assistant provides responses to patient questions that are not only comparable to those written by physicians. They are better.

Chatgpt is more empathetic than the doctors. Fantastic!

A recent study has stirred up a hot debate: ChatGPT answers patients' questions more politely than doctors do. AI has just better bedside manners. And that's excellent news doctors should be excited about.

The study “Comparing Physician and Artificial Intelligence Chatbot Responses to Patient Questions Posted to a Public Social Media Forum,” published in JAMA Internal Medicine, triggered a storm that their authors didn’t expect. The media reported that ChatGPT is “more accurate, detailed, empathetic or even better than doctors.

The study compared physician and chatbot responses to patient questions asked in a public social media forum – a team of healthcare professionals rated 195 randomly selected queries. Outcomes: The chatbot’s responses were preferred to those of the physician and rated significantly higher in quality and empathy.

In 78.6%, the chatbot’s responses were considered to be better than the doctor’s. More specifically, the doctors’ answers were significantly shorter than the chatbot’s answers (52 words vs. 211 words). Besides, they were rated as significantly higher quality than the doctors’ answers. In addition, the chatbot’s answers were assessed as significantly more empathetic than the doctors’. The difference was huge: the frequency of compassionate or very empathetic responses for the chatbot was 9.8 times higher than for doctors.

The authors concluded that generative AI has the potential to generate answers to standard patient questions. In the future, doctors could edit them instead of writing them from scratch. And that means significant improvements, especially in repetitive work – AI could even reduce doctors’ job burnout and improve patient outcomes.

Why is it ok that ChatGPT outperformed doctors?

AI will not replace doctors; the new study gives no reason to think otherwise. But it has shown that AI will almost certainly help doctors in their work, answering patients’ questions more empathetically.

Patients demand empathy, but this feature of the patient-doctor relationship is often overworked for a simple reason: busy doctors don’t have time to prioritize good manners. Instead, they have to prioritize patient outcomes and safety.

AI can fill this gap. Especially as health care is rapidly moving to online channels – telemedicine services, now also provided via chat, are on the rise. With acute doctor shortages in all countries, AI could be a massive help since typing responses is time-consuming and frustrating. In fact, it’s another kind of paperwork that distract healthcare professionals from direct contact with patients.

9.8 times more empathetic responses than physicians

By augmenting the clinical workflows with AI, both parties should profit – the doctor will gain a valuable supporter, while the patient will – high-quality answers written in an understandable style and clinically verified by medical professionals, tailored to the patient’s needs (including for example, age or mental health).

Of course, it is also crucial that AI is not only empathetic but also reliable. But we are also seeing a lot of progress in this area: In early 2023, the new Large Language Model (LLM) Med-PaLM 2 passed the medical exam by answering more than 80% of the questions correctly, twice as many as the score achieved at the beginning of 2022.

AI is almost ready to augment doctors’ competencies in practical work, especially since yet another study shows that ChatGPT can even be used to generate clinical letters.

However, despite the snowballing number of scientific studies on ChatGPT, the barrier may be the issue of liability. Even if doctors were only to check the accuracy of ChatGPT responses, they are still responsible for the final diagnosis or recommendations forwarded to the patient. As long as ChatGPT is not a medical device, the revolution won’t start. We must also consider that editing AI-generated texts can be as time-consuming and depressing as writing them from scratch.


ICT&health World Conference 2024

Experience the future of healthcare at the ICT&health World Conference from May 14th to 16th, 2024!
Secure your ticket now and immerse yourself in groundbreaking technologies and innovative solutions.
Engage with fellow experts and explore the power of global collaborations.

Share this article!

Read also
Navigating Digital Maturity in Healthcare IT
Digital maturity vs. Reality. How to rethink the IT staff role in a hospital
Online health care icon application on smart phone
End-users of mobile health apps expect far more than a good design
Mayo Clinic started with its innovations for its ten million patients and demonstrated that its model worked, and that data could be ethically and responsibly used to drive innovations.
John Halamka: 'Create the Fear of Missing Out'
Balancing regulatory compliance with seamless adoption, healthcare navigates the integration of AI solutions.
A guide to implementing AI in healthcare amid the EU AI Act
Futurist Amy Webb claims that wearables will evolve into "connectables"
Digital health solutions empower patients to better manage their health and integrate care into their daily lives.
How to improve Digital Patient Engagement to streamline workflows
For people with diabetes, inaccurate blood glucose measurements can lead to errors in diabetes management, including taking the wrong dose of insulin, sulfonylureas, or other medications that can rapidly lower blood glucose.
Smartwatches measuring glucose level: Harmful but easy to buy fake innovations
How to introduce innovation and AI in healthcare organizations if there is no business model for prevention and quality – Our interview with Professor Ran Balicer, the Chief Innovation Officer at Clalit Health Services and founding Director of Clalit Research Institute.
I see no legitimate rationale for delaying the digital transformation in healthcare
Pioneering Cardiac Arrest Detection for Enhanced Survival.
CardioWatch Revolutionizes Cardiac Arrest Detection
Dr. Oscar Díaz-Cambronero, Head of Perioperative Medicine Department at La Fe Hospital, spearheads innovative telemonitoring initiatives revolutionizing patient care
Smartwatches Saving Lives Inside and Outside the Hospital
Follow us