Georgi Urumov • 2023-02-17
Have your progress notes written for you automatically
The use of AI in therapy is an emerging field, and one application that has been discussed among therapists is the use of ChatGPT for generating therapy notes. While the idea of using AI to assist with the tedious task of writing therapy notes is appealing, there are also concerns about the ethics and legality of using a non-HIPAA-compliant program in therapy. This article aims to explore the potential benefits and limitations of using ChatGPT for therapy notes and to address the main questions and concerns that therapists have about this technology.
ChatGPT is a language-generation AI model that can generate human-like text based on a given prompt. It has been used in various applications such as content writing, chatbots, and even poetry. However, its potential use in therapy is a relatively new concept.
And now guess what? The 2 paragraphs above were written by ChatGPT itself! How come? Let me tell you a story.
A friend of mine recently sent me a Reddit thread regarding ChatGPT for therapy notes. I thought it is a great topic to write about considering it's a very similar type of technology to what we use at Mentalyc. As the CEO of the company providing AI notes to therapists, I'm speaking with clinics every day about how AI can help therapists take notes, we discuss the benefits of such technology and potential risk.
I regularly receive emails from our users offering valuable feedback and suggestions for enhancing the AI notes they use. I also use GPT models to facilitate my work. Like in this article, I got ChatGPT to help me out. I will show you how but let's first go over the basics:
ChatGPT works by using transformer models to understand the context and meaning of language, as well as relationships between words. This allows it to generate text that is more natural and human-like. For example, if given a prompt about a therapy session, it will understand the context of the conversation and generate a note that is somewhat similar to what a therapist would write.
However, as it is currently designed, it should not be used as a therapy AI scribe due to ethical and practical considerations. To effectively serve this role, a combination of a fine-tuned GPT model that has been specifically trained in therapeutic language, conversation, and other machine learning algorithms is necessary to ensure accuracy and confidentiality.
Transformer-based language models, such as GPT-3, use statistical patterns learned from large amounts of text data to predict the most likely next word in a given context.
Simply put, GPT-3 is a transformer-based language model developed by OpenAI, and ChatGPT is a specific application of an improved version of GPT-3, which is the GPT-3.5, also developed by OpenAI, which has been fine-tuned for conversational language processing.
However, when it comes to psychotherapy note-taking, a model like GPT-3, and by extension- ChatGPT, would only be as accurate as the data it has been trained on.
As ChatGPT is currently designed, it should not be used as a therapy AI scribe due to ethical and practical considerations. To effectively serve this role, a combination of a fine-tuned GPT model that has been specifically trained in therapeutic language and conversation, and other machine learning techniques are necessary to ensure accuracy and confidentiality.
OpenAI released ChatGPT in November 2022 and it quickly gained popularity. At Mentalyc, we have tested various versions of the GPT models from OpenAI for our AI-based progress notes for therapists. These models come in different sizes, some of which are commercially sold by OpenAI and some are open source and can be used without additional training or can be fine-tuned for specific industries.
ChatGPT is the latest iteration of text language models from OpenAI and is currently available for public testing. The chat-like interface makes it accessible and easy to interact with, even for non-technical users. The mainstream adoption of ChatGPT became apparent in December when my cousin mentioned using it to generate sales job applications, and discussions among therapists on Reddit further demonstrate its popularity.
To quickly understand what therapists’ beliefs are when it comes to ChatGPT, I copied and pasted a Reddit conversation among therapists on ChatGPT’s interface and asked it to tell me what are the main questions and concerns of therapists from that thread. As simple as that! Let's see what we got:
Main Questions and Concerns:
Pretty accurate, isn't it?
The second part of the task involved creating a summary of this article. The ChatGPT did a commendable job, but some modifications and additions were necessary for accuracy. With its assistance, the task was completed much faster than it would have been without its help.
The same applies to therapists who use Mentalyc for writing therapy progress notes. The technology may not complete the task entirely, but it can significantly reduce the amount of time spent on each note. On average, therapists using Mentalyc take just 3 minutes to write each progress note, while those who do it manually can take anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes.
I believe this is the future of many fields including mental health, and therapists should understand it well enough to be able to make a conscious choice of which tool they can use in their practice. There is no question that this type of technology will be used and will become better, so avoiding it is counterproductive. Now let's see how it can be used safely.
According to ChatGPT, using AI for therapy note generation can offer multiple benefits, including:
Note: It is important to note that the accuracy of the notes generated by ChatGPT is dependent on the quality and completeness of the training data it was trained on, as well as the context of the input provided.
As per the discussion on a Reddit thread, ChatGPT faces several limitations when it comes to therapy note generation:
Mentalyc is a specialized AI scribe designed to meet the unique needs of psychotherapists. Utilizing advanced NLP techniques, including GPT models, to streamline the note-taking process by automatically generating detailed, personalized notes from pre-recorded therapy sessions. With Mentalyc, therapists can focus on their clients rather than manually taking notes.
ChatGPT has the potential to revolutionize the process of creating therapy notes, offering benefits such as time savings and increased consistency. However, its non-compliance with HIPAA regulations is a significant concern.
To overcome these limitations, dedicated tools like Mentalyc, which are specifically designed for the psychotherapy field and comply with HIPAA, can be considered. Despite its advantages, it is important to acknowledge that AI cannot replace human therapists and should be used as a complementary tool.
As the use of AI in therapy continues to evolve, it is crucial to consider both ethical and legal implications. If you have any further questions or concerns regarding ChatGPT, Mentalyc, and concepts about AI and therapy notes, please don't hesitate to reach out here.
Georgi is a highly skilled professional with more than a decade of experience as a full-stack developer and Machine Learning Engineer. He has an extensive background in diverse fields such as process automation, web development, Web3, Computer Vision, and NLP. As the CTO of Mentalyc, a company he co-founded with Maria Szandrach in 2021, Georgi is committed to realizing his dream of using data-driven technologies to create human-centric solutions that can help alleviate mental health issues.
All examples of mental health documentation are fictional and for informational purposes only.
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