Patient Trust in AI Chatbots and ChatGPT

Currently, patient trust in AI Chatbots and ChatGPT is low.  In a study by Marvin Slepian, MD, JD and Christopher Roberson, JD, patients were split almost 50/50 in their preferences.  Patients still prefer, and trust, their human healthcare providers.  Some studies have shown that the icon or emoji used by the Chatbot influences how much trust patients place in it.  And research is being done on how using physicians’ own voice for chatting may influence acceptance and trust.  And providers encouraging patients to use Chatbots also influences their level of trust.

Marvin Slepian, MD, JD said in a statement, “While many patients appear resistant to the use of AI, accuracy of information, nudges and a listening patient experience may help increase acceptance.

Ironically, AI chatbots can even display more empathy than a healthcare provider.  One study recently published in JAMA Internal Med showed that chatbots were even 10x more empathetic than clinicians.  This is probably because chatbots aren’t concerned about how much time they spend answering patients’ questions.  Whereas clinicians are often rushed for time.

A survey done in October 2023, shows that the percentage of patient trusting AI hasn’t changed much.  Among the 1,027 adult patients surveyed, 49 percent said they were comfortable with their healthcare provider using AI, while 51 percent were not. When asked to consider how AI could improve diagnostic accuracy, those numbers shifted to 51 percent being comfortable and 42 percent being uncomfortable with their providers using AI.  However, studies show that when healthcare providers take time to education patients on AI, their trust levels improve.  Obviously, there’s still a lot of room for trust in AI to grow.

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