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  • Writer's pictureLeanna Coy, FNP-C

AI versus the medical professional: poll results

Updated: Apr 23, 2023

I ran a poll on LinkedIn last week asking how people prefer to get their health information. The idea of this poll stemmed from the recent news stories about artificial intelligence (AI) being used more widely for writing and information gathering. The poll offered four options of how someone might prefer to get their health information:

  1. Created by AI

  2. From a health professional

  3. General content writer

  4. Reading a book

In this statistically insignificant poll, the majority of respondents (85%) indicated their preference for getting health information from a health professional. Only 4% chose AI as the source of their health information.

AI is interesting in theory, but not yet at a level where it should be considered superior to a medical professional. Tools like ChatGPT are not knowledgeable in a way that can provide the most accurate information and instead use mathematical calculations to predict what the information should be. Think of it as a fancy autocorrect. Sometimes it gets the word right, but a lot of time it does not. There are several examples of AI in practice that can be found online which show the AI giving plausible-sounding information. However, when fact-checked inaccuracies were found. OpenAI created the ChatGPT AI. On their website they acknowledge the tool's limitations. "ChatGPT sometimes writes plausible-sounding but incorrect or nonsensical answers. Fixing this issue is challenging...".

A few respondents to my poll also chose books over medical professionals. Books can be quite helpful at times but do not always provide the most up-to-date information. Medical professionals, like nurses and doctors, keep up to date with new information through continuing education to keep their licensure active.

Interestingly no one chose a general content writer to provide their health information. This really should be the most telling part of the poll. Currently, there are many sites providing health information from people with no medical background. Yet no one in this poll chose that as their preferred information source. If you are an editor that should give you pause. There are many medical professionals who write, including myself. To get the most trustworthy medical content that will bring users back again and again it seems best to use a source that viewers prefer and can trust.

Animated image of a smiling robot using a computer

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