GPT-4 will hunt for trends in medical records thanks to Microsoft and Epic

An AI-generated image of a pixel art hospital with empty windows.
Enlarge / An AI-generated image of a pixel art hospital with empty windows.
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On Monday, Microsoft and Epic Systems announced that they are bringing OpenAI’s GPT-4 AI language model into health care for use in drafting message responses from health care workers to patients and for use in analyzing medical records while looking for trends.

Epic Systems is one of America’s largest health care software companies. Its electronic health records (EHR) software (such as MyChart) is reportedly used in over 29 percent of acute hospitals in the United States, and over 305 million patients have an electronic record in Epic worldwide. Tangentially, Epic’s history of using predictive algorithms in health care has attracted some criticism in the past.

In Monday’s announcement, Microsoft mentions two specific ways Epic will use its Azure OpenAI Service, which provides API access to OpenAI’s large language models (LLMs), such as GPT-3 and GPT-4. In layperson’s terms, it means that companies can hire Microsoft to provide generative AI services for them using Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform.

quotes Chero Goswami, chief information officer at UW Health in Wisconsin, as saying, “Integrating generative AI into some of our daily workflows will increase productivity for many of our providers, allowing them to focus on the clinical duties that truly require their attention.”

The second use will bring natural language queries and “data analysis” to SlicerDicer, which is Epic’s data-exploration tool that allows searches across large numbers of patients to identify trends that could be useful for making new discoveries or for financial reasons. According to Microsoft, that will help “clinical leaders explore data in a conversational and intuitive way.” Imagine talking to a chatbot similar to ChatGPT and asking it questions about trends in patient medical records, and you might get the picture.

GPT-4 is a large language model (LLM) created by OpenAI that has been trained on millions of books, documents, and websites. It can perform compositional and translation tasks in text, and its release, along with ChatGPT, has inspired a rush to integrate LLMs into every type of business, whether appropriate or not.

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