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  • Writer's pictureNick Lamb, PhD

Journal Club #2: What Generative AI Means for Trust in Health Communications

Welcome back to issue 2 of the Medcopywriter Journal Club. This time, we're looking at an article on medical communications and the importance of trust in the era of generative AI.

ChatGPT in medicine


Dunn AG, et al. What generative AI means for trust in health communications. J Commun Healthc. 2023;16(4):385-388.


This article, published in the Journal of Communication in Healthcare, discusses how ChatGPT can affect the access, quality and trust in health information, and calls for transparency and explainability to avoid "unanticipated consequences".


The authors, based at the University of Sydney, Australia, suggest that generative AI tools might change how health information is produced, what health information people see, how marketing and misinformation might be mixed with evidence, and what people trust:

  • Personalisation and hidden advertising could introduce new misinformation risks

  • Generative AI interfaces hide credibility cues and make misinformation sound trustworthy

Nevertheless, they argue that, despite these challenges, generative AI offers an opportunity to improve health communications. Using ChatGPT to rewrite medical communications for different languages and different levels of health literacy, are good examples of this.

Key quote

"There are good reasons to be optimistic about the role of generative AI tools in health communications, but there are also potential risks."


  • Overall the article focuses heavily on risks of generative AI like ChatGPT for health communications, but does not provide much evidence quantifying these risks or provide much in the way of solutions

  • There is limited discussion of the steps companies like OpenAI and Microsoft are already taking to improve accuracy, mitigate risks, and address problematic content in ChatGPT

  • It would have been useful to hear some patient perspectives on the benefits or risks they perceive from ChatGPT regarding health information

  • I would also have liked to see more examples where responsible use of generative AI has actively improved medical communications

Will ChatGPT foster a lack of trust in healthcare communications? Share your thoughts in the comments.


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