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  • Writer's pictureOzzie Paez

Navigating the Limits of ChatGPT in Medicine: A Crucial Insight

ChatGPT, while groundbreaking, comes with its set of recognized limitations, especially in critical fields like medicine. Understanding and compensating for these limitations is key to safely and effectively exploiting this remarkable technology in clinical applications.

One notable ChatGPT limitation is the date of its training corpus. As of its last update in April 2023, ChatGPT's knowledge base, built on the GPT-4 architecture, only extends up to September 2021. This cutoff means that it lacks awareness of any developments, including those in healthcare, that occurred after this date. Consequently, ChatGPT is not privy to the latest threats from diseases like Influenza and COVID-19, their evolving strains, or the newest vaccination and booster updates. Similarly, it is unaware of the latest clinical technologies, potentially leading to outdated, obsolete recommendations.

Skeptical doctor

For instance, when inquired about methods to monitor cardiac output and systemic vascular resistance, ChatGPT's response highlighted legacy, often invasive, and costly techniques, because it was oblivious to newer, noninvasive, and cost-effective alternatives. One example is Biobeat’s cardiovascular monitors and advanced ABPM blood pressure profiling technologies, for example, which continuously measure CO and SVR, plus eleven more parameters at a small fraction of the cost and without patient discomfort. Similarly, ChatGPT's lack of awareness extends to recent FDA warnings, recalls, and the approval of new drugs, underscoring the importance of consulting up-to-date sources.

The Bottom Line

This gap in ChatGPT's knowledge emphasizes the importance of clinicians and healthcare professionals validating its suggestions against the latest medical research and guidelines. While ChatGPT can be a valuable tool in medicine, it's crucial to use it as a complement to, rather than a replacement for, current medical knowledge and expertise.

In my next post, I will discuss how ChatGPT can hallucinate and output baseless, incorrect answers and recommendations. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions about our continuing investigation of ChatGPT and other Large Language Models (LLMs):


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