Fast, unbiased, and objective: ChatGPT can soon complement traditional diagnostic methods, according to research published in Family Medicine and Community Health. A recent study suggests that ChatGPT, an AI chatbot developed by OpenAI, may excel in providing treatment recommendations for clinical depression compared to primary care physicians. The study, published in the open-access journal Family Medicine and Community Health, reveals that ChatGPT can offer fast, objective, data-driven insights that could enhance traditional diagnostic methods while maintaining patient confidentiality and anonymity.
Unbiased and Precise Recommendations
The researchers examined ChatGPT’s performance in suggesting therapeutic approaches for mild and severe major depression, focusing on whether gender or social class biases influenced the recommendations.
When asked about recommended approaches, ChatGPT responded with options such as “watchful waiting,” “referral for psychotherapy,” “prescribed drugs (for depression/anxiety/sleep problems),” and “referral for psychotherapy plus prescribed drugs.”
Only 4% of family doctors exclusively recommended psychotherapy for mild cases, whereas ChatGPT-3.5 (Free Version) and ChatGPT-4 suggested psychotherapy in 95% and 97.5% of cases, respectively. Most doctors preferred drug treatments exclusively (48%) or psychotherapy combined with prescribed drugs (32.5%).
Comparison With Primary Care Physicians
In severe cases, doctors commonly recommended psychotherapy combined with prescribed drugs (44.5%), while ChatGPT recommended this more frequently: 72% for ChatGPT-3.5 and 100% for ChatGPT-4, aligning with clinical guidelines. Notably, four out of ten doctors recommended prescribed drugs exclusively, a choice neither ChatGPT version endorsed.
Doctors often recommended a combination of antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and sleeping pills (67.5% of cases), while ChatGPT was more inclined to recommend antidepressants exclusively, with 74% for version 3.5 and 68% for version 4. ChatGPT-3.5 and ChatGPT-4 also suggested a combination of antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and sleeping pills, demonstrating precision in adhering to clinical guidelines.
Gender and Socioeconomic Neutrality
The study findings indicated that ChatGPT-4 offered more precise adherence to treatment guidelines and exhibited no discernible biases related to gender or socioeconomic status, in stark contrast to human practitioners.
The study suggests that ChatGPT could serve as a valuable tool to improve decision-making in primary healthcare, providing potentially superior and unbiased recommendations for individuals suffering from depressive disorders.