ChatGPT: The Future of Patients’ Information Needs

ChatGPT: The Future of Patients’ Information Needs

Zahra Mohammadzadeh
Ph.D. Health Information Management, Kashan University of Medical Sciences and Health Services

The information needs of patients based on the type of illness of the patient can be considered very critical [1]. For example, patients with Alzheimer’s disease, who are often cared for by informal caregivers, need information about the patient at a very high level [2]. This is why it is essential that healthcare providers communicate clearly and effectively with their patients to ensure that they have a complete understanding of their health status and available treatment options [1, 2]. In fact, meeting the patient’s informational needs is a vital part of patient-centered care [1, 3]. In the era of artificial intelligence and with the emergence of the powerful tool ChatGPT, which was built to meet the information needs of people in most fields, this tool has a high ability to provide content on most topics [4-6]. There have been many studies measuring ChatGPT’s ability to answer people’s medical questions and provide information to patients, but the results of these studies differ greatly [4, 7]. According to one study, ChatGPT is very capable of answering patients’ medical questions [8], but in another study, it is charged with providing misinformation [9]. According to other studies, ChatGPT is not suitable for answering clinical questions, and a specialist (e.g. physician) must address clinical questions [10, 11]. Nevertheless, ChatGPT’s answer is much more fascinating than these studies’ findings, as when ChatGPT answers the question “Can ChatGPT provide personalized health information tailored to individual patients?“:

—Can ChatGPT provide personalized health information tailored to individual patients?—

ChatGPT Answer: “Yes, that’s correct. ChatGPT has the capability to provide customized and personalized information related to an individual’s health condition. With access to patient health records, ChatGPT can understand a patient’s medical history, current health status, and any ongoing treatments or medications. This information can be used to provide personalized advice on diet, lifestyle modifications, and specific treatment plans that are best suited for the individual’s needs. Moreover, ChatGPT can assist patients in managing their conditions by providing reminders for medication schedules and appointments with healthcare providers. This can help patients adhere to their treatment plans and avoid any negative consequences of missed or late treatment. In summary, ChatGPT can be an effective tool for providing personalized information and support to patients, ultimately improving their health outcomes and quality of life. However, it is essential to ensure that patient privacy and confidentiality are maintained throughout the communication process.”

All right, it seems ChatGPT’s answer is pretty firm. To prove this issue, we asked ChatGPT one frequently asked question and one specialized question about Alzheimer’s patients. ChatGPT answers have been reviewed by a neurologist.

Q1) What is the latest drug treatment for dementia?

ChatGPT Answer: As an AI language model, I do not have access to real-time data, and my knowledge cutoff date is September 2021. Therefore, I may not have information on the very latest drug treatments for dementia beyond that date. However, I can provide you with some information on recent advancements in drug treatments for dementia up to my knowledge cutoff date.

As of September 2021, some of the latest drug treatments for dementia that have been approved or are being investigated in clinical trials include:

1. Anti-amyloid drugs: Several drugs that target beta-amyloid, a protein implicated in the formation of brain plaques characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease, have been investigated in clinical trials. Some of these drugs, such as aducanumab (Aduhelm) and lecanemab (BAN2401), have shown promising results in early trials and have been granted accelerated or conditional approval by regulatory agencies in certain countries. However, the clinical benefits and long-term effectiveness of these drugs are still being debated, and further research is ongoing.

2. Tau protein-targeting drugs: Tau protein is another protein involved in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, and drugs that target tau protein are being investigated in clinical trials. These drugs aim to prevent the accumulation and spread of abnormal tau protein in the brain.

3. Anti-inflammatory drugs: Some studies have explored the role of inflammation in dementia and have investigated anti-inflammatory drugs as potential treatments. For example, drugs that target the immune system or inhibit certain inflammatory pathways have been studied in clinical trials for their potential effects on reducing neuroinflammation and improving cognitive function in dementia.

4. Other novel approaches: There are ongoing research and clinical trials investigating other novel approaches for the treatment of dementia, including drugs that target mitochondrial function, brain insulin resistance, and neuroprotection, among others.

It’s important to note that the landscape of dementia drug treatments is constantly evolving, and the availability and effectiveness of treatments may change over time as new research emerges. It’s recommended to consult with a qualified healthcare professional or stay updated with the latest scientific literature and clinical trial results for the most up-to-date information on the latest drug treatments for dementia.

Q2) The patient is a 74-year-old man who has been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for nearly 5 years. Right now, this person is very emotionally traumatized. How can I help this person?

ChatGPT Answer: As an AI language model, I can provide some general suggestions to help a person who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and emotional trauma. However, it is important to recognize that every individual’s situation is unique, and consulting with a healthcare professional may be beneficial to create a personalized plan.

Here are some suggestions to help a person with Alzheimer’s disease who is emotionally traumatized:

1. Create a supportive environment – Ensure that the environment is safe and comfortable for the patient and meets their individual needs. Use calming colors, reduce background noise and clutter to create a peaceful environment.

2. Communicate Clearly – use simple and clear language when speaking with the patient. Repeat instructions whenever necessary.

3. Establish a routine – Routines provide structure and predictability, which can be particularly helpful for Alzheimer’s patients. Establishing a routine can aid in reducing anxiety.

4. Provide emotional support – Provide comfort and reassurance to the patient and offer emotional support. Spend time with them doing things that they enjoy.

5. Engage in positive activities – Encourage participation in activities that the patient enjoys such as music, art, or other hobbies or interests.

6. Try Brain stimulation activities – Brain stimulation activities like puzzles, crosswords, or memory games can keep the mind active and improve cognitive function.

Remember, patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease require patience, empathy, and understanding. It is essential to make any recommendations considering the individual’s unique situation, goals, and preferences.

According to the neurologist’s opinion, ChatGPT has both provided correct answers and guided the person correctly in the final paragraph. Although asking these questions is not enough and it is not possible to provide a complete conclusion based on. But the issue that is important here is that this tool was able to provide correct and complete answers. So if we consider ChatGPT as an artificial intelligence language model that has a high potential to meet the information needs of patients. It can be expected that with the increasing demand for digital health services patients will increasingly turn to such digital platforms to obtain information about their health status, medications, treatments, and treatment methods. In fact, it can be very efficient for patients and their informal caregivers to provide accurate and reliable information about patients’ information needs in a timely manner, without having to schedule an appointment or wait for a healthcare provider’s response. The importance of this issue increases when ChatGPT can be highly useful for patients who need urgent information or who live in remote areas with limited access to healthcare services.

It seems that with ChatGPT’s access to more and accurate information from the patient’s medical records, it can provide appropriate recommendations on drug dosage, lifestyle changes, and increase the patient’s self-management skills, which can be aligned with the patient’s specific needs. In addition, ChatGPT can help healthcare providers develop personalized treatment plans for their patients by analyzing large datasets and patient data and clinical trials to identify the most effective treatments and drugs to improve and modify specific patient conditions. So it can be concluded that ChatGPT can be a useful tool in facilitating personalized medicine by providing personal information and treatment recommendations based on medical data to patients and healthcare providers. Although ChatGPT can be considered a big change in meeting the information needs of patients, but should never be considered a complete and flawless substitute for providing advice in meeting informational needs. ChatGPT can complement the services of healthcare professionals by providing quick information and guidance to patients about their health concerns, which can facilitate more informed decision-making. As a result, it can be assumed that as technology continues to ChatGPT evolve, the healthcare industry’s approach to meeting patients’ information needs will differ as well.


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Cite this article in APA as: Mohammadzadeh, Z. (2023, June 28). ChatGPT: The future of patients’ information needs. Information Matters, Vol. 3, Issue 6.

Zahra Mohammadzadeh

Zahra Mohammadzadeh received a bachelor's degree in Health Information Technology (HIT) from Tehran University of Medical Sciences and a master's degree in Health Information Technology from Urmia University of Medical Sciences. She is currently a doctoral candidate at Kashan University Medical Sciences. Her research interests include Information Science, Information Management, Databases, and Medical Technology. She is also very interested in Hospital Information Systems and Health Information.