We used ChatGPT to write a protocol, here’s what happened.

Mar 31 / Drs. Bryan & Julie Walsh

If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it 1000 times – ChatGPT.

Our teenage son was the first to bring it to our attention. Interestingly, he was also the first to tell us how “stupid it was that people couldn’t write their own stuff” (his words, not ours).

Then, a friend of ours, who is going back to college in her 40s mentioned it. She has been struggling to balance work, school, and life and was amazed that “this thing could write her papers for her”.

Most recently, a practitioner we know was working on writing content for her website and was beyond thrilled, calling it "a Godsend!”

Now, if you know us at all, you might be able to guess how we might feel about something like ChatGPT.

But if we know you at all, you might be curious about it.

Should health professionals use it? If so, in what context – in social media posts, articles, or patient protocols?

And true to form, we’ve done some investigative journalism on everything you, as a health practitioner, should be considering when it comes to this topic.

In fact, we find this so important, we’ve prepared a multi-part series that we’ll be sending you over the next few weeks.

Today, we’re going to kick off the conversation with using ChatGPT to write protocols.

To explore whether to use ChatGPT in this context, we took it for a test drive.

Honestly, we were surprised at what happened.

There are screenshots below to show you exactly what below but it, in essence we asked it questions like:

  • What supplements should I take for gas and bloating? (It told us, including specific supplements, dosages, reputable brands, and where to get them).
  • What dietary changes should I take for gas and bloating? (It provided a meal plan and outlined specific foods to include and avoid to reduce symptoms).
  • What lifestyle changes should I make to relieve gas and bloating? (For this too, it listed solid suggestions). 

Take a look at how easy ChatGPT made it to find supplement recommendations:

And here's what it suggested when it came to dietary changes for gas and bloating:

When asked about lifestyle changes for gas and bloating, here are ChatGPT's suggestions:

Now you may be thinking, “Well, that’s just dietary, supplement, and lifestyle recommendations. Surely it couldn’t make recommendations for testing.”

We looked at that too.

We asked, “What functional medicine test should I do to evaluate my gas and bloating?"

It gave us a solid list of tests, one of which was the Organic Acid Test.

Of course, one would want to know where to order this test, so we asked that too.

And it listed every lab that we, as practitioners, order lab tests from.
As you know, many labs require a practitioner account, but there are also options available for the consumer to self-order. 

“What third-party site allows a consumer to order functional medicine tests like the organic acid test?” was our next question.

In just a few seconds, it outlined exactly where anyone can self-order the Organic Acid test.
Between the report of findings, the support that many testing companies provide for interpretation, and a continued conversation with ChatGPT, knowing what to do from there would be straightforward.

But just for fun, we typed in “How to interpret an organic acid test?” and let’s just say the answer wouldn’t disappoint most people.

To sum it up, in under 5 minutes, this AI bot outlined a specific protocol for someone struggling with gas and bloating including:

  • Nutritional Recommendations
  • Supplement Recommendations
  • Lifestyle Recommendations
  • Testing Recommendations
And not only were technically accurate and well-written, but also free.

Now, at this point, you might be thinking…

“WOW! I am totally using this; it will save me so much time!” or…

“Yikes. How is that any different from what I do as a practitioner? Will this take over my job” or…

“Whatever. This bot is not as smart as I am.”

But, before you jump to a conclusion, we want you to think about it for a second.
  • How is this different from what you are doing?
  • What are the upsides of this thing?
  • What are the downsides?
  • Is this a good idea or a bad one?
Note: Read Part 2: Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Using ChatGPT (For Health Professionals) here.
We’d LOVE to hear your initial thoughts on using ChatGPT in practice. Let us know!
P.S. We wrote this blog post, well, Julie specifically wrote it...NOT ChatGPT :)
PPS. If you're new here and want the next part in this series, be sure to hop on our email list