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AI Can Now Prescribe Medicine

AI and its ever-expanding skillset

Is There Anything AI Can’t Do?

With artificial intelligence, the possibilities are endless.

These machines, models, and algorithms become more human every day – they basically squeeze the decision and discernment power of an active human brain into codes. The results already go beyond our limited capacity. Thus, that AI as the future of work and productivity is an understatement; it should be regarded as THE future.

Artificial intelligence can now prescribe medicine, and experts believe this will positively impact overall health.

Research shows medication-related errors are responsible for one out of 131 outpatient and one out of 854 inpatient deaths in the United States. The act of prescribing medicine is as complicated as it is vital, so medical experts must practice for years before gaining mastery. AI, however, is on the verge of replicating their skills and making prescribing as easy as clicking a button.

This is yet another example of artificial intelligence beating humans at their own game. For instance, autonomous AI models can already identify breast cancer better than teams of certified oncologists. It has also been recently reported that AI can successfully discern COVID-19 from cough sounds.

For now, let’s examine how AI models can prescribe medicine.

GPT-3: So Good It’s Scary, Literally

The internet has gone crazy for GPT-3 (Generative Pre-Training Transformer-3) from OpenAI. It is a third-generation machine learning model that designs websites, answers questions, and yes, prescribes medicine.

OpenAI has set the AI-world on fire with debates about safety before; the introduction of GPT-2 was met similarly.

Although GPT-2 boasted many benefits, critics termed it too dangerous because it could create writings that were indistinguishable from those penned by actual humans. It was TOO good.

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At the time it was considered to be so dangerous, GPT-2 was only utilizing 124 million parameters of the possible 1.5 billion in its original design. Well, watch out. GPT-3 will feature a staggering 175 billion parameters.

GPT-3 is a neural-network-powered language model that predicts the likelihood of a sentence existing in the world. It leverages a generative model of languages (two neutral networks perfect each other by competition) and can acquire knowledge and process long-range dependencies by pre-training on diverse sets of written material with long stretches of contiguous text.

As a language processing model with the largest database of training sets ever at its disposal, experts believe it can answer medical-related questions, diagnose asthma, and prescribe medicine.  

Google’s Prescribing Model

As powerful as GPT-3 is, it is not the first AI-based model capable of prescribing medicine. Google’s AI could predict the scripts a physician would write with up to 75% accuracy.

The most significant setback of Google’s AI is that it is rooted in historical data. It can only replicate the physician’s prescription patterns and not their ever-expanding knowledge of medication and side effects.

Based on the researchers’ submission however, the system, if appropriately applied to healthcare, could assist physicians in identifying abnormal or incorrect prescriptions. It would work similarly to the fraud detection programs that banks employ.


1. Artificial intelligence is our future – that becomes clearer and clearer every day.

2. AI can reduce the human error associated with prescriptions.

3. OpenAI and Google are well on their way to providing AI solutions that will correctly prescribe medicine.

Leadership Goes Beyond the Pecking Order

Good leaders get people to follow them. As a family medicine resident, much of my job revolves around educating my patients and fostering healthy habits and prevention.

To be an effective doctor, I must find a way to get my patients to listen to me and follow my instructions. I need their trust. Communication skills, accountability, and emotional intelligence go a long way toward that, and those are all traits of good leaders.

All other medical specialties have similar elements that benefit from those attributes. For instance, even if they don’t often see patients face-to-face, pathologists are often crucial members of diverse medical teams.

Obviously, learning about leadership is a must. But how? Besides turning to Amazon for as many audiobooks on the subject I can listen to on the way to and from work, I’ve found the best way to learn is from mentors in the profession. And don’t just take my word for it. Even Tony Robbins agrees!

I met one of my most influential attending physicians as a student. He was a brilliant internist who I swear would have been a famous stand-up comedian had he not entered medicine. Nobody was safe from his wit, which he used both as an icebreaker with patients and as a tool to bring his team together. During that particular rotation, I never felt like the lowly student who occupied the lowest rung of the proverbial ladder.

My attending didn’t see students in front of him. He saw future doctors. Future leaders. And he treated us as such. As a result, even though everyone thought they had all worked their hardest before, we all managed to squeeze out a little bit more under him.

In short, he was one of the best leaders I have ever worked with.

The Future = More Classes?! Yup.

Since medicine is constantly evolving, so must its curriculum. The goal of medical school has always been to create good doctors. Since the best ones are accomplished leaders as well, it only makes sense that medical schools should teach leadership skills.

For many, being a resident physician is their first job. Think about that for a minute. Their (albeit expansive) training is relatively narrow in its scope; it’s based on countless hours of study, clinical practice, and test taking. Then it’s complete. They graduate and are immediately expected to be leaders. Who have they learned from though? Often it’s people like them: fledgling residents with no formal instruction in mentorship.

What’s the solution? Well, it’s complicated. Leadership courses on their own might not be effective for everyone. However, it should not be something that we can expect to be picked up after a semester of intense studying. But introducing leadership as a concept all physicians will encounter is vital. It should always be there in the background as something we’re working on via multiple avenues. We aren’t learning to interpret EKGs or lab values here.

Leadership is a skill that requires careful cultivation and attentive nurturing. Sure, adding yet ANOTHER subject to the laundry list of courses that defines medical school is daunting. However, it’s necessary – doing so will create a new, more well-rounded and more influential generation of young doctors.

The Key Three (Takeaways)

1. Whether they’re prepared or not and whether they like it or not, physicians are leaders.

2. The better the leader, the better the doctor.

3. Leadership training should be integrated into the medical school curriculum.

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