Mike Taylor, chief technology officer for Radar Healthcare, explores the impact Open AI and natural language processing, such as that found within ChatGPT, will have on health and social care.
ChatGPT has become the fastest growing consumer application in history. According to a recent report by Reuters, just eight weeks after it launched, ChatGPT had gained 100m monthly active users.
As its popularity has grown so too has excitement and trepidation about the impact the technology will have on our lives, our jobs, and indeed how public services such as health and social care will be delivered.
The debate over whether man will be replaced by machine has reared its head once again.
When asked, ChatGPT says ‘AI language models and other technologies should be used alongside human healthcare professionals, rather than as a replacement for them’.
‘But that ‘…overall, it believes that ChatGPT and similar technologies have the potential to revolutionise health and social care, leading to better outcomes, increased accessibility, and greater efficiency’.
The reality is, within social care and across the NHS staffing levels are at an all-time low and demand for their services have never been higher.
Artificial Intelligence has the capability to help bridge some of that critical gap – enhancing rather than replacing humans of course.
There are areas where the introduction of ChatGPT technology wouldn’t be a major leap within healthcare but could be hugely beneficial.
Take, for example, the online triage and similar systems being increasingly utilised to manage demand and help better navigate effective care pathways.
Behind each one of these online forms there is coding dictating the journey and response.
But, if these simple, yet critical services, were overlayed with Artificial Intelligence capable of understanding and responding to natural language the impact would be far greater.
We’re not taking about technology diagnosing illnesses or prescribing medication, that of course would be unethical and potentially dangerous.
But this type of AI adoption could ease key pressure points, such as access.
The NHS wants its app to be its ‘digital front door’ and AI will help that ambition to be realised.
Natural language processing will level up digitally driven health services.
Put simply, this helps machines understand human language so they can perform a task – that could be in the form of responding to a question asked, checking my spelling in this article or by sharing information about medication side-effects.
AI is something which is on our own roadmap for system evolution at Radar Healthcare.
We are constantly evolving the platform and our vison is that wider integration with other systems, such as care planning software and electronic patient records will enable real-time responses, bespoke requests and automated data feeds which will ultimately improve outcomes.
This technology will be able to identify not only a broader range of risks but do so far earlier which will allow actions to be implemented.
AI can help find trends across the different systems and through analytics bring this to the forefront of the human eye.
There are also clear health inequality advantages using this technology, with AI chat bots able to interpretate and respond in any language and accessibility level.
Helping to greatly improve dissemination of public health information across all areas of pockets of society.
Unsurprisingly, ChatGPT agrees. When asked how it believes it, and similar technologies, will be able to transform health and social care in the future it says, ‘…these technologies can offer personalised and accessible support, information, and guidance to individuals, healthcare professionals, and organisations, which can lead to improved health outcomes and better quality of care.’
Adding that ‘ChatGPT and other AI language models can provide on-demand support and assistance to individuals who may have limited access to healthcare services due to location, financial or other barriers.
This can lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment of health conditions, improved mental health and well-being, and increased patient engagement and satisfaction’.
The popular AI chat bot also notes that it can ‘help to reduce workload of healthcare professionals’ and ‘enhance the overall quality of care’.
But perhaps its biggest and most exciting capability is its potential for analysing large amounts of health data, leading to better insights into disease patterns, treatment effectiveness and even the identification of potential candidates for vital clinical research.
The importance of data insights to population health was clear during the pandemic.
Through health data analytics it was identified who was most at risk and in need of safeguarding from Covid-19, which in turn helped to prioritise the largest vaccination programme in history.
We’re in the incredibly fortunate position to have a wealth of global health data – but to truly leverage it we need artificial intelligence.
Analysing it manually will, if it was at all possible, be extremely costly and slow to process.
In equal measure, in my view, this technology will transform and challenge health and social care.
Of course, it’s right to question the use of artificial intelligence within health and social care.
We’re in an era where the technology we watched as children in science fiction films becomes either a reality or close to it. That, even for me as a chief technology officer, is daunting.
Without question this form of technology must only be used ethically and responsibly.
Ultimately, there’s no denying the potential it brings to the digital transformation of health and social care enabling us all to live longer, healthier lives.
For more information on how Radar Healthcare helps healthcare organisations across the world with their risk, quality and compliance processes visit www.radarhealthcare.com
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