Intended for healthcare professionals

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Doctors should not be simply the ghost in the machine

BMJ 2024; 385 doi: (Published 19 April 2024) Cite this as: BMJ 2024;385:q899

Rapid Response:

AI in Medical Education: A Bright New Frontier

Dear Editor,

During an interview with Bloomberg, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman observed, “There's been resistance to every new technology that's ever been introduced. When books came out hundreds of years ago, there were complaints that it would destroy the oral tradition. Some of those fears were justified, but it didn't stop the rise of the written word. And books have proven to be incredibly useful”[1]. It was therefore refreshing to read Morgan and Walsh detailing how the BMJ have side-stepped such resistance, and become early adopters of artificial intelligence (AI) as a training adjunct to improve doctors’ consultation skills through simulated patient interactions [2].

There is increasing focus on a doctor’s non-technical skills and ability to work in a multi-disciplinary team. These attributes have been highlighted in the recent update of Good Medical Practice [3] and are also held in high regard during selection processes for some national training programmes, where they are actively scored in assessment matrices [4]. During my own experience of these interviews I have been presented with hypothetical scenarios that include tests of not only clinical management, but also one’s ability to navigate challenging interactions with colleagues who have conflicting opinions. I would therefore suggest that there may also be utility in an AI tool that simulated these types of scenarios, to help develop the qualities and strategies a clinician needs to effectively manage them in a protected environment.

There has also been a recent announcement of an AI model reportedly capable of processing visual and spoken inputs and responding with spoken word at similar speeds to that of normal human conversation [5]. If this is indeed the case, I wonder if with future development of this technology there may be an opportunity for AI simulation to be incorporated into selection processes to provide real-time high-fidelity assessment of a candidate’s behaviour and non-technical qualities.

This work seems like an excellent example of implementing AI to advance medical education and assessment, and I hope that this is the beginning of a bright future for its use in the field.

Andrew Graham

1. Burrows P. Q&A with Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman. Bloomberg 2010.
2. Morgan M, Walsh K. Doctors should not be simply the ghost in the machine BMJ 2024; 385 :q899. doi:10.1136/bmj.q899
3. General Medical Council. Good Medical Practice. 2024.
4. Anaesthetics National Recruitment Office. ST4 Interview Scoring Matrix. 2024.
5. OpenAI. Hello GPT-4o. 2024.

Competing interests: No competing interests

14 May 2024
Andrew R Graham
Anaesthetic Core Trainee
Department of Anaesthetics, Morriston Hospital, Swansea, UK
Morriston Hospital, Heol Maes Eglwys, Treforys, Cwmrhydyceirw, Swansea SA6 6NL