I read an article about ChatGPT today. ChatGPT is an AI (artificial intelligence) medical program which, according to the article, could pass the medical licensure exam. The author of the article lists the pros and cons of patients utilizing AIs.
Years ago, I published an article called “Cyberchondria”. Googling symptoms often introduces patients to diseases they have never heard of and provoking anxiety reactions and fear out of proportion to the initial symptoms. Patients who googled their symptoms prior to coming to the office often requested inappropriate testing, brought up diseases which they were highly unlikely to have, and were often convinced that they had cancer.
Office visits were often prolonged as I tried to convince a patient with a sore throat that they did not have leukemia. Google fatigue. What you’ll find is a list of every disease known to mankind. Working up the list of every disease known to mankind leads to ordering every test possible. Ordering every test possible leads to the discovery of false positive results and added anxiety. The end-result is panic and increased financial and psychologic costs!
While physician-level AIs may one day fine tune the diagnosis associated with patients’ symptoms, Cyberchondria has to be accounted for. One last thought, often just watching my patient walk into the exam room and interact with me led to the proper diagnosis.