Affected by a rare disease, a four-year-old boy, Alex, was seen by 17 different doctors, without any of them being able to make a diagnosis. It was ultimately thanks to the artificial intelligence conversational tool, Chat GPT, that parents were able to find out what their child was suffering from. Can ChatGPT outperform doctors? The opinion of Dr Gérald Kierzek, emergency physician.
The story is reported by the Daily Mail. At the age of four, little Alex suffered from chronic pain. The child develops different symptoms, such as headaches or lameness of the left foot, his growth is also affected. The little boy also gradually changes his personality, becoming, according to his mother, “in a bad mood” and “expressing himself through outbursts of anger.”
The child is then examined by 17 different doctors, without results.
Trying to understand what was ailing her son, his mother, Courtney, explains that she saw 17 different doctors over three years, without success. Tired, she tries one last time to understand what is happening to her child and asks Chat GPT, the conversational artificial intelligence tool, to give her a diagnosis. Entering all of her son’s health information, Courtney studies the chatbot’s response, which seems very relevant to her.
Alex suffers from spina bifida occulta
Little Alex actually suffers from a form of spina bifida. This happens when the spine that protects the spinal cord does not form and close normally. Alex is affected by a minor form of the disease, spina bifida occulta, which causes a small gap in the spine but no nerve damage.
In the United States, this disorder affects less than 1% of births. In Europe, it is estimated that there are 25,000 cases of spina bifida. It is a malformation that can be avoided by taking folic acid (vitamin B9) in tablets, taken every day before conception and then during the first trimester of pregnancy. This precaution reduces the risk of this serious spinal malformation by 70%.
In emergencies, ChatGPT performs diagnoses “as well” as a doctor
In the emergency room, the artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT performed diagnoses at least as well as doctors and in some cases outperformed them, Dutch researchers found.
In detail, 30 cases treated in an emergency department in the Netherlands in 2022 were examined by feeding ChatGPT based on patient history, laboratory tests and physician observations, asking the chatbot to suggest five possible diagnoses .
In 87% of cases, the correct diagnosis was found in the list of practitioners, compared to 97% for version 3.5 of ChatGPT. The chatbot “was capable of making medical diagnoses much like a human doctor would have done“summarized Hidde ten Berg, from the emergency department of Jeroen Bosch Hospital in the south of the Netherlands. Study co-author Steef Kurstjens stressed that the study did not conclude that computers could day running emergency rooms but that AI could play a vital role in helping doctors under pressure.
Such tools are not designed as medical devices, he noted, however, also sharing concerns about the confidentiality of sensitive medical data in a chatbot.
And, as in other areas, ChatGPT has encountered some limitations. His reasoning was “sometimes medically implausible or inconsistent, which can lead to incorrect information or incorrect diagnosis, with significant implications“, notes the study.
The authors of the study published Wednesday, however, stressed that the days of emergency doctors were not yet numbered, the chatbot being potentially capable of speeding up the diagnosis but not of replacing the judgment and experience of a human.
Is artificial intelligence better than doctors? The opinion of Dr. Gérald Kierzek
Will Chat GPT eventually replace the role of the doctor? Dr Gérald Kierzek doesn’t believe it.
“Artificial intelligence is a complementary tool for doctors. Chat GPT is useful because it is exhaustive and quick and can provide diagnostic leads that you might not immediately think of. But it does not replace human intelligence and the sorting that a doctor can do, given the data he can provide. It is the practitioner, facing the patient, who will be able to determine what he is suffering from. estimates the doctor.
But he has one fear, however. “What worries me is the young practitioners, who would only train with this type of tool. If they do not learn to work without it, they will be dependent on it, including the errors that artificial intelligence can make, because Chat GPT’s medical knowledge is not always up to date..