Google is already testing its Med-PaLM 2 AI chat technology at at the Mayo Clinic and other hospitals, The Wall Street Journal has reported. It's based on the company's PaLM 2 large language model (LLM) that underpins Bard, Google's ChatGPT rival — and was launched just months ago at Google I/O.
Unlike the base model, Med-PaLM-2 has been trained on questions and answer from medical licensing exams, along with a curated set of medical expert demonstrations. That gives it expertise in answering health-related questions, and it can also do labor-intensive tasks like summarizing documents and organizing research data, according to the report.
During I/O, Google released a paper detailing its work on Med-PaLM2. On the positive side, it demonstrated features like "alignment with medical consensus," reasoning ability, and even the ability to generate answers that were preferred by respondents over physician-generated responses. More negatively, it showed the same accuracy problems we've seen on other Chat AI models.
Microsoft is also developing medical AI chat tech based on OpenAI's ChatGPT, having teamed up with the healthcare software company Epic. Google is also working on using its AI for ultrasound diagnosis and cancer therapy, it revealed in March. Both companies have promised to keep patient information confidential, saying they don't train their models on patient data. Last month, Microsoft expressed alarm about its ChatGPT technology being used by doctors to improve communications with patients.
In an internal email seen by the WSJ, Google said it believes the updated model could "be of tremendous value in countries that have more limited access to doctors." Still, Google has admitted that the technology is still in its early stages. "I don’t feel that this kind of technology is yet at a place where I would want it in my family’s healthcare journey," said Google senior research director Greg Corrado. However, he added that the tech "takes the places in healthcare where AI can be beneficial and expands them by 10-fold."