Training AI for Health Care with a Focus on ‘First, Do No Harm’ – Munjal Shah’s Vision for Hippocratic AI

Munjal Shah, founder of Hippocratic AI, believes large language models can transform healthcare by providing crucial, nondiagnostic services to patients. His vision is grounded in the maxim “first, not harm,” ensuring AI supports – and does not replace – human providers.

Shah sees profound potential in using AI’s infinite time and patience for tasks like patient education and follow-ups. This allows human providers, who often cut patients off within 20 seconds, to focus on more complex care. With personalized reminders and conversations, AI could build solid therapeutic relationships that are unattainable today. Researchers found AI responses more empathetic than most physicians’, indicating AI’s surprising utility for bedside manner.

However, Shah stresses AI should not make high-risk judgments. Hippocratic AI focuses on chronic care, patient navigation, dietetics, and communication – not diagnostics. Shah believes AI can absorb and share medical knowledge conversationally, providing “bedside manner with a capital B.” However, determining treatment plans requires human discernment.

Rigorous training is vital to ensure accurate, harmless applications. Unlike generalized models scraping the internet, Hippocratic AI trains on peer-reviewed medical literature and standards of care. This domain-specific content improves performance on healthcare tasks. The model also receives extensive feedback from medical professionals as part of its ongoing reinforcement learning.

So far, Hippocratic AI has outscored other LLMs on 114 exams, including every significant clinical test. Such rigorous benchmarking provides confidence in its capabilities and limitations. Shah sees human clinicians and AI as complementary forces – each handling suitable responsibilities. AI offers exponentially more time for patient engagement, while clinicians offer discernment and complex decision-making. With conscientious design and training, AI can provide some healthcare functions better than overburdened humans. But for high-risk judgments, Shah believes the maxim must remain “first, not harm.”

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