ChatGPT has taken the world by storm since the AI technology was first introduced in November 2022. In medicine, radiology is taking the lead in putting ChatGPT to work to address the specialty’s many efficiency and workflow challenges.
Both ChatGPT and its newest iteration, GPT-4, are forms of AI known as large language models – essentially neural networks that are trained on massive volumes of unlabeled text and are able to learn on their own how to predict the structure and syntax of human language.
A flood of papers have appeared in just the last week or so investigating ChatGPT’s potential:
- ChatGPT could be used to improve patient engagement with radiology providers, such as by creating layperson reports that are more understandable, or by answering patient questions in a chatbot function, says an American Journal of Roentgenology article.
- ChatGPT offered up accurate information about breast cancer prevention and screening to patients in a study in Radiology. But ChatGPT also gave some inappropriate and inconsistent recommendations – perhaps no surprise given that many experts themselves often disagree on breast screening guidelines.
- ChatGPT was able to produce a report on a PET/CT scan of a patient – including technical terms like SUVmax and TNM stage – without special training, found researchers writing in Journal of Nuclear Medicine.
- GPT-4 translated free-text radiology reports into structured reports that better lend themselves to standardization and data extraction for research in another paper published in Radiology. Best of all, the service cost 10 cents a report.
Where is all this headed? A review article on AI in medicine in New England Journal of Medicine gave the opinion – often stated in radiology – that AI has the potential to take over mundane tasks and give health professionals more time for human-to-human interactions.
They compared the arrival of ChatGPT to the onset of digital imaging in radiology in the 1990s, and offered a tantalizing future in which chatbots like ChatGPT and GPT-4 replace outdated technologies like x-ray file rooms and lost images – remember those?
Radiology’s embrace of ChatGPT and GPT-4 is heartening given the specialty’s initial skeptical response to AI in years past. As the most technologically advanced medical specialty, it’s only fitting that radiology takes the lead in putting this transformative technology to work – as it did with digital imaging.