Assessing prognosis in depression: Comparing perspectives of AI models, mental health professionals and the general public

Zohar Elyoseph, Inbar Levkovich, Shiri Shinan-Altman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background Artificial intelligence (AI) has rapidly permeated various sectors, including healthcare, highlighting its potential to facilitate mental health assessments. This study explores the underexplored domain of AI's role in evaluating prognosis and long-term outcomes in depressive disorders, offering insights into how AI large language models (LLMs) compare with human perspectives. Methods Using case vignettes, we conducted a comparative analysis involving different LLMs (ChatGPT-3.5, ChatGPT-4, Claude and Bard), mental health professionals (general practitioners, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and mental health nurses), and the general public that reported previously. We evaluate the LLMs ability to generate prognosis, anticipated outcomes with and without professional intervention, and envisioned long-term positive and negative consequences for individuals with depression. Results In most of the examined cases, the four LLMs consistently identified depression as the primary diagnosis and recommended a combined treatment of psychotherapy and antidepressant medication. ChatGPT-3.5 exhibited a significantly pessimistic prognosis distinct from other LLMs, professionals and the public. ChatGPT-4, Claude and Bard aligned closely with mental health professionals and the general public perspectives, all of whom anticipated no improvement or worsening without professional help. Regarding long-term outcomes, ChatGPT 3.5, Claude and Bard consistently projected significantly fewer negative long-term consequences of treatment than ChatGPT-4. Conclusions This study underscores the potential of AI to complement the expertise of mental health professionals and promote a collaborative paradigm in mental healthcare. The observation that three of the four LLMs closely mirrored the anticipations of mental health experts in scenarios involving treatment underscores the technology's prospective value in offering professional clinical forecasts. The pessimistic outlook presented by ChatGPT 3.5 is concerning, as it could potentially diminish patients' drive to initiate or continue depression therapy. In summary, although LLMs show potential in enhancing healthcare services, their utilisation requires thorough verification and a seamless integration with human judgement and skills.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere002583
JournalFamily Medicine and Community Health
Volume12
Issue numberSuppl 1
DOIs
StatePublished - 9 Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2024. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.

Keywords

  • depression
  • general practice
  • mental health
  • nurses
  • psychiatry

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