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Chat GPT vs. Physical Therapist: An Honest Review by Dr. O’Connor

My name is Dr. O’Connor and I have been a physical therapist for over 5 years and have had helped hundreds if not thousands of people live happier healthier lives through therapeutic treatments. I have a strong passion for technology and healthcare. Naturally, I had to test what current AI technology is capable of as it relates to my profession so I decided to go toe-to-toe with Chat GPT.

ROUND 1: DIAGNOSIS I begin the prompt with a patient complaint that I may hear in the clinic. The prompt was: “I fell on my shoulder a week ago and it hurts. I can’t lift it”. As a physical therapist in this situation, I would continue to further assess and ask questions to lead me to more potential diagnoses in evaluation the patient. At this point, Chat GPT had a great response but did not lead to any further questioning and diagnosis. It had a perfect response though if someone was seriously seeking medical advice from Chat GPT. ROUND 1 WINNER: PHYSICAL THERAPIST


ROUND 2 INTERVENTION: In round 2, I decided to provide Chat GPT with a specific diagnosis to determine what interventions it would suggest. I decided to provide tendonopathy. I was extremely impressed with Chat GPT’s response. I think these are excellent suggestions providing the patient can tolerate and complete them. Truth is, there is a small percentage of patients that would be able to read this prompt and immediately implement the exercises without a skilled eye for cueing for performing the exercise correctly. However, at the speed and written description of the exercise, I am very happy with the response. This was a close one but the ability to discern and improve technique on the spot goes to the physical therapist. ROUND 2 WINNER: Physical Therapist ROUND 2 RUNNER UP: Chat GPT


ROUND 3: PLAN OF CARE I tried to be pretty simple here with my prompt to see what the response would be so I simply asked, “How many times a day should I do that?” Generally speaking, Chat GPT again makes a very accurate suggestion regarding repetitions and daily frequency. Chat GPT also recommends seeking advice from a physical therapist so I’ll add a bonus point for team A.I. ;) A general prompt will yield a general response but considering how impressed I am with the advice regarding the output, I’ll call this round a draw. ROUND 3: DRAW


ROUND 4: PROGRESSION I decided the last round of the experiment would be to test if Chat GPT could accurately describe progressions for when the exercises would become too easy. Again, I was incredibly impressed with the progressions it produced. They were accurate, well described, and provided 3+ exercises. Again, this would only work for a very small percentage of the population for the same reasons described in the interventions section but again, this is the fastest and most accurate information that could be provided considering the short and simply prompts provided. ROUND 4 WINNER: PHYSICAL THERAPIST


CONCLUSION & NOTES Though ChatGPT is no match for an experienced clinician, it is still staggering how effective and accurate it can be. There is definitely a place for this technology in healthcare not only in physical therapy but other healthcare professions as well. I’m curious what results other clinicians may find using this technology. I am always open to conversation so post your thoughts below! If you’re interest in learning more about a wellness service business I founded check it out below or find me on LinkedIn!




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