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Pros and Cons of AI in Medical Writing – BioPharma Services

Exploring the Pros and Cons of AI in Medical Writing blog image.Exploring the Pros and Cons of AI in Medical Writing blog image.

The Rise of AI in Medical Writing for Clinical Trials

Undoubtedly Artificial Intelligence (AI) and ChatGPT have been the hot topics of conversation for the past year. These technologies have become personal assistants in many aspects of our lives, helping to solve a diverse range of tasks. From the simplest like creating recipes for dinner based on what you have in the fridge to the most complicated like solving math problems or writing program codes.

Medical writers (MWs) hold a crucial role in facilitating the dissemination of scientific and medical knowledge to a range of stakeholders, ensuring regulatory compliance, and fostering community engagement. With the advancement of AI and ChatGPT1 technologies, these professionals stand at the intersection of technological innovation and healthcare communication. Their proficiency in delivering vital information to diverse audiences is now augmented by the advanced capabilities of these cutting-edge tools.

Advances in deep learning, particularly during the 2010s-2020s, have paved the way for the development of powerful word-processing AI models 1. Interestingly, natural language processing (NLP), the AI technology that helps computers understand the natural language of humans beyond the ones and zeros, began in the 1940s 2. Notable examples include Grammarly, ChatGPT-3, and ChatGPT-4 which are trained on vast datasets and are utilized across various facets of medical writing, including report generation, grammar checking, summarizing research papers and clinical trials, providing patient-specific medical information, and even serving as chatbots for medical queries. Ultimately, promising unparalleled efficiency and connectivity within the healthcare ecosystem.

This blog post seeks to delve into the profound implications of this symbiotic relationship, exploring both the benefits and challenges of integrating AI in medical writing. From efficiency gains to ethical considerations, we aim to elucidate the multifaceted nature of this intersection, recognizing its pivotal role in shaping the future of medical discourse and patient care.

Pros of AI in Medical Writing

1. Quality Assurance

In the world of medical writing, precision is paramount. Yet, human errors, especially in repetitive tasks like formatting citations and proofreading, can sometimes slip through the cracks, jeopardizing accuracy. AI in medical writing can start with AI-powered grammar and spell-checking programs as they enhance precision and consistency, reducing errors and gaps in medical documents and proofreading allowing medical writers to focus on the creative aspects of their work 3. These tools also offer content creation and suggestion features, generating relevant ideas, and providing structure to the writing process, ensuring a more organized and efficient workflow.

Additionally, AI in medical writing can aid in plagiarism detection 4, safeguarding the integrity of medical research. These advancements enhance quality assurance efforts, minimize misinformation, and contribute to better patient care and clinical decision-making, elevating the reliability and precision of medical information dissemination.

2. Data Analysis: Maximizing Efficiency

In the ever-evolving landscape of medical writing, data is king! But going through extensive scientific literature and datasets manually can be like finding a needle in a haystack.  That’s where AI steps in. AI in medical writing swiftly analyzes extensive scientific literature and data, uncovering patterns, correlations, and trends that may elude manual analysis, enhancing the quality of the research process 5. AI’s integration into medical writing for clinical trials signifies a paradigm shift towards a more data-driven and technologically advanced approach, expediting the dissemination of critical medical information and enhancing communication and decision-making processes within the healthcare sector.

This can potentially lead to better patient outcomes and a higher quality of care overall. This capability has revolutionized how healthcare professionals extract knowledge, empowering stakeholders to gain deeper insights into disease mechanisms, treatment outcomes, and population health trends, driving evidence-based practices and informing healthcare policies. Furthermore, AI’s ability to quickly analyze and summarize scientific literature contributes to improved research accessibility and understanding, offering simple yet correct sentence structures for enhanced clarity and readability.  

3. Saves Time and Resources

AI writing tools expedite various writing tasks such as creating documentation for regulatory filings, literature reviews, summarizing research findings, and drafting clinical study protocols, consent forms, and clinical reports. 

The result? This automation significantly reduces the time and effort required for manual writing jobs, thereby freeing up valuable resources for healthcare professionals to focus on patient care and research endeavors6

Ultimately, this improved efficiency of AI in medical writing not only accelerates the dissemination of critical medical information but also contributes to cutting time and costs spent on clinical trials. It’s a win-win situation, paving the way for better healthcare outcomes and more informed decision-making processes.

4. Personalization

Ever received a brochure, informed consent form 7, or study-specific educational resources that felt like it was made just for the specific study or specific patient population? Thanks to AI medical writing tools, that personal touch is becoming the new norm. These innovative services help effectively tailor educational resources like brochures and consent forms to suit each patient’s individual needs.

Cons of AI in Medical Writing

1. Potential for Bias and Inaccuracy

Even with AI’s capacity for automation, maintaining the dependability and correctness of the material it generates is still a major concern. AI chatbots are based on large language models (LLM), therefore the answers they provide are a function or a derivative of their repertoire and hold a risk of bias to scientific writing, based on possible biases in the training datasets themselves. This may include racial, sexual, or religious bias, making the results less inclusive 8.

In addition, when AI systems come across uncommon or foreign medical illnesses for which they do not have enough training data, they could produce false or misleading information. AI systems may find it difficult to appropriately understand complex medical ideas, uncommon or foreign medical illnesses, or context-specific information that requires creative problem-solving or critical thinking may be limited, which could lead to mistakes, misinformation, or inaccurate output.  To mitigate these risks, diligent monitoring and validation procedures are imperative.

2. Over Reliance on AI

Relying too heavily on AI in medical writing could result in dependence on the technology, potentially diminishing human oversight and downplaying the vital role of human expertise in maintaining the quality and relevance of medical content. Human writers offer contextual understanding, critical thinking, empathy, creativity, inclusivity, and ethical judgment, qualities that AI systems may lack. 

Such reliance on AI in medical writing may jeopardize its integrity, eroding public trust and creating opportunities for predatory journals to exploit AI for profit-driven purposes. This could lead to the mass production of low-quality, inaccurate, and misleading content, further undermining the credibility of scholarly publications.

3. Ethical Concerns

Using AI in medical writing raises ethical concerns, particularly regarding patient privacy and data security. Improper configuration or management of AI systems could inadvertently expose private patient information or violate privacy laws, compromising patient confidentiality. Given that AI writing tools often process significant volumes of data, including sensitive information, safeguarding patient privacy is paramount.

In addition, the rules around copyright law and AI are still unclear, with many legal questions about infringement. AI systems often use information from different sources, like articles and databases, which brings up questions about who owns and can use this combined data. The challenge is deciding if AI-generated content is new or a copy of something else and if it breaks copyright laws.

These unclear rules have complicated legal problems for people who make, use, and build AI, which makes it urgent for there to be clear rules and frameworks to deal with copyright issues at a time when AI is being used more and more to make and spread content.

4. Cost and Accessibility

Medical writers with low financial resources may find it difficult to obtain certain AI writing tools due to their high cost. Not all AI tools are compatible with different operating systems or have user-friendly interfaces, which can provide additional challenges for certain writers.

The Future of AI in Medical Writing

The fusion of AI into medical writing holds immense promise for revolutionizing the field, offering significant advantages such as efficiency, productivity, and support in generating content. However, it is crucial to approach the use of AI writing tools with caution and mindfulness, acknowledging the potential pitfalls they may pose. These include issues such as bias, misinformation, overreliance on AI, and privacy, which must be carefully addressed through strategies like bias detection, transparency, and robust validation processes.

The responsible use of AI in medical writing requires clear guidelines, close collaboration between AI systems and human expertise, and ongoing research to mitigate risks and maximize benefits. Ultimately, striking a balance between leveraging AI’s potential and upholding human creativity, critical thinking, and ethical considerations is paramount. By navigating this evolving landscape thoughtfully and prioritizing patient well-being and the integrity of medical knowledge, we can harness the power of AI to advance healthcare practices while ensuring the highest standards of medical writing and patient care.

What can BioPharma Services offer you?

BioPharma Services Inc. (BPSI) is actively exploring AI tools to streamline writing processes, particularly in drafting sections of protocols, study reports, data summarization, and adapting existing text for different audiences. However, it’s crucial to emphasize that AI is employed as a tool with a human-in-the-loop approach, where Medical Writers serve as supervisors and oversee and refine AI-generated content, ensuring accuracy and clarity. 

Once AI and Medical Writers collaborate to produce text or documents, standard operating procedures (SOPs) are rigorously followed at BPSI to maintain quality, including peer review, quality control, and quality assurance measures. While certain tasks are well-suited to AI capabilities, caution is exercised to safeguard against the inclusion of private or confidential data in AI-driven processes. This approach underscores the importance of leveraging AI effectively within established frameworks to enhance writing efficiency while upholding quality standards and data integrity to support services that align with our clients’ clinical trial needs.

Written by: Zeinab Sharifi, Senior Scientific Medical Writer.

BioPharma Services, Inc., a Think Research Corporation and clinical trial services company, is a full-service Contract Clinical Research Organization (CRO) based in Toronto, Canada, specializing in Phase 1 clinical trials 1/2a and Bioequivalence clinical trials for international pharmaceutical companies worldwide. BioPharma conducts clinical research operations from its Canadian facility, with access to healthy volunteers and special populations.

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