Artificial intelligence (AI) has contributed to significant advances across many industries. Now, many people are using AI as a tool for selfdiagnosis or to get answers to health-related questions.

Self-diagnosis is a growing practice, as people’s primary access point for health care information has shifted from professionals to the internet. Given the rising popularity of AI as a source of information for health-related questions, you may wonder if it’s a good resource for self-diagnosis and medical information.

Generative AI for Health Care

Generative AI is a type of technology that produces content such as text, images or audio. Common tools used for this purpose include OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Med-PaLM. Amid a shortage of health care workers, chatbots like these could help answer your questions. Initial tests by researchers so far suggest these AI programs are more accurate than a standard Google search.

Pros of Using AI
Using AI tools for medical self-diagnosis can potentially reduce costs for patients and health care providers. Possible benefits of using generative AI include the following:

• Increased accessibility
• Improved health literacy
• More efficient triaging
• Preserved anonymity

These factors can enhance patient experience and improve engagement. Additionally, chatbots are easier to use than online symptom checkers.

Cons of Using AI
Although generative AI has the potential to help you with medical self-diagnosis, this technology has limitations and pitfalls, such as:

• The potential to provide false information
• The ease of misinterpreting information
• Ethical concerns (e.g., data privacy and bias)
• The risk of ignoring medical advice

Therefore, some chatbots have disclaimers that they should not be used to diagnose serious
conditions, provide instructions for curing conditions or manage life-threatening issues.

Considerations for Using AI for Self-diagnosis

While generative AI tools may help you quickly answer health-related questions and self-diagnose conditions, solely relying on them for information or medical assistance could be unsafe. However, these tools can be a useful resource to help you obtain accurate and timely health advice and information, as long as you understand their limitations.