WEDNESDAY, Oct. 18, 2023 (HealthDay News) — ChatGPT provides recommendations that align with accepted guidelines for management of mild and severe depression, according to a study published online Oct. 4 in Family Medicine and Community Health.
Inbar Levkovich, Ph.D., from Oranim Academic College in Tivon, Israel, and Zohar Elyoseph, Ph.D., from Imperial College London, input vignettes to the ChatGPT interface, focusing mainly on hypothetical patients with symptoms of depression during initial consultations. Eight distinct versions were designed in which patient attributes and depression severities were varied. Each variant was introduced into ChatGPT-3.5 and ChatGPT-4; to ensure consistency and reliability of ChatGPT responses, each vignette was repeated 10 times.
The researchers found that ChatGPT-3.5 and ChatGPT-4 recommended psychotherapy in 95.0 and 97.5 percent of cases, respectively, for mild depression, while primary care physicians recommended psychotherapy in 4.3 percent of cases. For severe cases, primary care physicians mostly recommended “referral for psychotherapy and prescription of pharmacological treatment”; ChatGPT favored this approach more frequently. ChatGPT-3.5 and ChatGPT-4 showed a preference for exclusive use of antidepressants (74 and 68 percent, respectively) in pharmacological recommendations, while primary care physicians generally recommended antidepressants and anxiolytics/hypnotics (67.4 percent). ChatGPT showed no gender or socioeconomic biases in its recommendations, unlike primary care physicians.
“The study suggests that ChatGPT, with its commitment to treatment protocols and absence of biases, has the potential to enhance decision-making in primary health care,” the authors write.
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