How GPT-4 can transform healthcare

Can generative AI transform healthcare for the better?

One of the experts thinks so.

Dr. Robert M. Wachter, professor and chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, outlines why in a new essay commissioned by Microsoft.

In it, Dr. Wachter says he is optimistic that generative AI systems like GPT-4 have the potential to transform how healthcare works.

He draws this conclusion after putting GPT-4 through its paces in healthcare-related scenarios, saying:

“There is no doubt that GPT-4 is a breathtaking advance in the field of medical artificial intelligence. I fed him a series of very tough clinical scenarios—the kinds of breakthrough cases that challenge our best doctors. I found his general clinical reasoning abilities to be similar to those of a very good medical resident;

The wider adoption of AI in healthcare can bring benefits such as:

  • Patients can use specific AI healthcare agents to manage some of their health conditions.
  • AI can be used by non-physician providers to perform work normally reserved for physicians.
  • Fewer expensive professionals will be needed, as one can be much more efficient using AI.
  • General practitioners can handle situations that would normally require a specialist today.
  • AI can significantly automate key administrative tasks such as “billing and coding, documentation, patient and physician scheduling, and supply chain management.”

This will lead to better patient outcomes and lower healthcare costs.

However, Dr. Wachter cautions that “the obstacles to this digital nirvana should not be minimized.” They include:

  • Resistance to change from vested interests in the health care system. They will “forcefully push back against the flow of dollars and significant job-changers.”
  • Privacy and data concerns could slow AI innovation in healthcare.
  • Training for healthcare professionals and administrators must evolve to work with and monitor AI systems, and do so in a way that minimizes “automation complacency and over-reliance on technology.”

In Episode 50 of the Marketing AI ShowI spoke with Paul Retzer, founder and CEO of the Marketing AI Institute, to learn more about the impact AI could have on healthcare. Here’s what you need to know.

  1. This is not just a health story. The article has really good lessons for other fields, Retzer says. It is “broadly applicable to many industries dealing with sensitive data, high cost, both human and financial AI errors.”
  2. The status quo is likely to be the biggest obstacle in every field. Wachter highlights the backlash from people who defend the status quo as a major concern in the adoption of healthcare AI. It is likely to be a serious concern in other areas as well. “There’s going to be a lot of industries, a lot of companies and a lot of executives who don’t want to accept the benefits because it changes things dramatically,” Retzer says.
  3. It also highlights The law of unequal distribution of AI. The law states that the value you get from AI, and how quickly and consistently that value is realized, is directly proportional to your understanding, access to, and acceptance of the technology. Industries that have a low tolerance for adopting new technologies and processes will not see the huge benefits of AI. “You’re going to have to embrace the technology to benefit from it,” says Retzer.

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