Generative AI in healthcare: Safely harness its power with clinically validated virtual triage

Clearstep Media
Clearstep Team

The integration of generative AI, particularly large language models (LLMs), with virtual triage has the potential to revolutionize healthcare delivery. 

When used correctly, combining LLMs with virtual triage solutions allows healthcare organizations to provide patients with timely, helpful, and accurate care and advice. And considering that 89% of patients search online for their symptoms before seeking healthcare guidance or connecting with their provider, providing these services has become increasingly important for healthcare organizations.

Some organizations hesitate to harness the power of LLMs due to their novelty and unpredictability. While those hesitations are not unfounded, working with the right partner can turn LLMs into technology that healthcare organizations can trust to provide comprehensive virtual triage solutions to their patients.

LLMs: Pros and Cons

First, what is a large language model? In short, LLMs use machine learning to predict the likelihood of a given sequence of words given a particular context. 

LLMs are trained on vast amounts of data, making them particularly effective at generating responses; however, these responses are often inconsistent and unvalidated. It goes without saying that ensuring the accuracy and validity of any responses given to patients is crucial to their well-being. 

So while LLMs can answer a patient's question almost instantaneously, organizations can't trust these responses. Even more troubling, they can't tweak any answers once they find an inaccuracy and are held liable for these inaccuracies.

For these reasons, it's safe to say that LLMs cannot stand alone to provide healthcare advice and answers to patients in a virtual triage setting. However, by combining LLMs with trusted, consistent, and validated technology, healthcare organizations can harness the untapped potential of generative AI.

Harnessing the Powerful Potential of LLMs for Virtual Triage

Working with a virtual triage partner that integrates LLMs with already validated clinically robust technology can help organizations enhance and improve information dissemination, decision support, and, ultimately, patient outcomes. 

That being said, finding the right partner who knows how to work with generative AI is essential to turn it into something healthcare organizations can trust.

At Clearstep, we provide productive information and decision support for nearly 100% of all healthcare-related searches. We developed our clinically validated triage algorithms in collaboration with the co-author of the same telephone triage protocols used by >95% of the call centers in the country. They have already been validated in >300 million nurseline encounters and are trusted by health systems in >15 states to route tens of thousands of patients. We can match patients to the appropriate triage algorithms for ~500 unique symptoms, representing >97% of all incoming searches via our free-text search bar.

The remaining 3%, most of which are esoteric questions, can be sent to an LLM and subsequent manual verification by our medical experts for future use. This process helps ensure a panel of medical experts verifies every recommendation provided by Clearstep. Verified answers are then added to improve the model's accuracy over time and ensure it continues providing the best guidance possible.

With Clearstep, healthcare organizations can easily tweak any guidance related to digital-self triage ad hoc, allowing them to provide patients with up-to-date and relevant information. Additionally,  we indemnify all health system customers with a comprehensive insurance package—the LLMs available via APIs assume no liability for their outputs.

Overall, integrating LLMs into virtual triage represents a significant step forward for healthcare. By providing accurate and timely guidance to healthcare patients for literally any healthcare-related question, this technology has the potential to revolutionize the way we approach care delivery.

If you're interested in learning more about how Clearstep's conversational AI, powered by its market-leading digital self-triage and LLM integrations, can help you better route and convert patients, let's talk.

Want to read more about virtual triage? Check out our Patient Self-Triage Accuracy (PSTA) Analysis.

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