AI Chatbots in Clinical Laboratory Medicine: Foundations and Trends

He S. Yang, Fei Wang, Matthew B. Greenblatt, Sharon X. Huang, Yi Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Artificial intelligence (AI) conversational agents, or chatbots, are computer programs designed to simulate human conversations using natural language processing. They offer diverse functions and applications across an expanding range of healthcare domains. However, their roles in laboratory medicine remain unclear, as their accuracy, repeatability, and ability to interpret complex laboratory data have yet to be rigorously evaluated. CONTENT: This review provides an overview of the history of chatbots, two major chatbot development approaches, and their respective advantages and limitations. We discuss the capabilities and potential applications of chatbots in healthcare, focusing on the laboratory medicine field. Recent evaluations of chatbot performance are presented, with a special emphasis on large language models such as the Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer in response to laboratory medicine questions across different categories, such as medical knowledge, laboratory operations, regulations, and interpretation of laboratory results as related to clinical context. We analyze the causes of chatbots' limitations and suggest research directions for developing more accurate, reliable, and manageable chatbots for applications in laboratory medicine. SUMMARY: Chatbots, which are rapidly evolving AI applications, hold tremendous potential to improve medical education, provide timely responses to clinical inquiries concerning laboratory tests, assist in interpreting laboratory results, and facilitate communication among patients, physicians, and laboratorians. Nevertheless, users should be vigilant of existing chatbots' limitations, such as misinformation, inconsistencies, and lack of human-like reasoning abilities. To be effectively used in laboratory medicine, chatbots must undergo extensive training on rigorously validated medical knowledge and be thoroughly evaluated against standard clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1238-1246
Number of pages9
JournalClinical chemistry
Volume69
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine

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