Medical writers, are you ready for the next big thing? ChatGPT and other AI tools are changing the game. Here’s how to incorporate them into your work and stay ahead of the curve.
With the recent release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, the use of artificial intelligence in everyday life is no longer some far-in-the-future event lying just out of reach on the tech horizon. AI is here to stay, and that means one thing for medical writers everywhere: Adapting to a new AI-driven reality is key to staying ahead in the medical writing industry.
the major disadvantage of using AI tools for medical writing
There are a lot of pros to using AI tools to generate medical texts, such as increased efficiency and the ability to automate tasks like proofreading. But there’s one vitally important con.
ChatGPT and other AI text tools (also known as large language models) work by predicting the next word in the sentence they’re generating. This means these tools aren’t currently equipped to gauge the accuracy of the text they produce. And when it comes to medical writing, this lack of accuracy can be a fatal flaw.
But that doesn’t mean AI can’t be useful for medical writers.
medical writers: treat AI as a tool
So what’s the best way to adapt? The key is to treat AI like a tool. A calculator, for example, can do all sorts of complex calculations with numbers — but it hasn’t replaced mathematicians. Here’s a good way to look at AI tools in general: They can’t do your job for you, but they can help you do your job.
So lean into the change by learning how to use AI tech to streamline your workflow (and add an increasingly important skillset to your resume while you’re at it):
While you can’t get AI to do your research, you can use it to speed up your research process. For example, AI-driven academic search engines such as Semantic Scholar and Elicit provide search capabilities beyond the keyword matching that Google Scholar offers.
You can also speed up your research process by using AI text summary tools like TLDR This, Scholarcy and Genei.io to help you quickly explore the main concepts in research papers and articles. Most of these tools can link each section or sentence in a summary to the portion of text it’s summarizing, making it easy to inspect the sources behind the summary to verify accuracy.
Citations are vital in most medical writing, and AI citation generators such as Quillbot’s citation generator or Skim AI’s bibliography and citation generator make citations a breeze.
And a tool like scite can help you to evaluate the citations you’re using in your work, so you can see which ones have been retracted. You can also find missing citations and see how other researchers are referencing the citations you’re using.
editing and proofreading
You’ve likely heard of Grammarly, but did you know it’s driven by AI technology? So if you’ve ever used it to help correct your grammar and spelling or to proofread your final drafts, you’ve already used AI tools to help you be more productive.
While Grammarly is most likely the most popular tool for editing and proofreading, others can be just as helpful. Trinka, for example, is geared specifically toward academic and technical writing. And the Hemingway app helps make your writing more readable by pointing out convoluted sentences that are hard to understand.
It’s difficult to predict how much of an impact AI tools like ChatGPT will have on your career as a medical writer. But one thing is sure: AI is here to stay. And the best way to stay ahead in the industry is to add AI tools to your skillset.