Imtiaz Ibne Alam
Top Endorsed
  • Pharmacist, Medical Writer, Manuscript Writer, Science Writer, Research Writer

The Pros and Cons of AI in Medical Writing

Illustration of AI technology with a digital brain and circuit patterns, representing AI in Medical Writing

The healthcare field is undergoing a paradigm shift since early 2023. Artificial intelligence (AI) is now leading the way, especially in medical writing. The way we create, share, and understand medical information is rapidly changing. From clinical reports to patient education materials, AI is reshaping how medical writers communicate complex medical or scientific data.

Pros of AI: A Game-Changer for Medical Writers

AI is transforming the role of medical writers. It has provided them with new tools to improve their work in many ways:

  1. Language Polish: AI tools correct grammar and ensure documents are clear and error-free. You can use GPTs like Grammar and Readability Checker to do the job for you. It's even available for free users of ChatGPT.
  2. Readability analysis: AI can assess and suggest improvements for content clarity, especially for patient-facing materials.
  3. Workflow Streamlining: AI summarizes research findings and formats documents, saving time and reducing errors.
  4. Data Analysis: AI tools are able to perform complex statistical analyses. They can process vast datasets, extracting insights from clinical trials and literature for research-backed documents.
  5. Data visualization: AI-powered tools can generate clear, accurate visualizations of complex medical data.
  6. Content Generation: AI drafts initial versions of clinical study reports, patient education materials, and other medical documents.
  7. Manuscript preparation: AI can assist in structuring and formatting manuscripts for specific medical journals.
  8. Peer review assistance: AI tools can perform initial screenings of submitted papers, flagging potential issues for human reviewers.
  9. Customized patient materials: AI can generate personalized health information based on individual patient profiles.
  10. Enhanced Research: AI rapidly analyzes medical data and literature, providing valuable insights and supporting evidence.
  11. Rapid response documents: In crisis situations, AI can quickly generate initial drafts of public health communications.
  12. Visual Aids: AI creates clear, informative graphics to illustrate complex medical concepts.
  13. Interactive Content: AI can power chatbots and interactive tools for medical education and patient engagement.
  14. Journal Search Assistance: GPTs like Consensus or Scholar GPT and AI-based search engines like can help medical writers choose a niche journal with a good impact factor.

Accelerated Dissemination of Critical Health Information

AI can facilitate the swift sharing of critical medical knowledge. It quickly identifies and summarizes relevant research, accelerates the peer review process, and ensures real-time updates to medical guidelines and public health information. Additionally, AI also optimizes the delivery of medical content across various platforms. This ensures timely dissemination.

Increased Efficiency and Productivity in Medical Communication

AI integration in medical writing saves time and resources:

  • Faster First Drafts: AI generates initial content rapidly, speeding up the writing process.
  • Automated Research Summaries: AI synthesizes key points from multiple sources quickly.
  • Automated formatting: AI ensures documents adhere to specific regulatory templates and styles.
  • Streamlined Editing: AI-powered tools expedite proofreading and formatting.
  • Efficient Collaboration: AI facilitates real-time document sharing and version control.
  • Reduced Human Error: AI minimizes oversight in repetitive tasks like data entry and citation management.
  • Terminology Standardization: AI tools can verify that terminology and data remain consistent across multiple regulatory or research related documents.
  • Up-to-Date Information: AI continuously updates content with the latest medical findings and guidelines.
  • Compliance monitoring: AI systems can track changes in regulatory requirements and flag necessary updates in existing documents.
  • Cross-Referencing Accuracy: AI can efficiently manage citations and references during manuscript and regulatory submissions.
ChatGPT providing real-time feedback and assistance on data analysis and graph creation
Image Source: Generated with AI

Freeing Up Medical Writers for Higher-Value Tasks

By handling routine tasks, AI allows medical writers to focus on more impactful activities such as strategic planning, creative problem-solving, in-depth data analysis, and building relationships with healthcare professionals and experts. This shift enables writers to develop comprehensive communication strategies and tackle complex medical communication challenges more effectively.

Cons: How AI is Disrupting the Medical Writing Profession

The Double-Edged Sword of AI in Healthcare Communication

AI's integration into medical writing presents a paradox. While AI brings numerous benefits, it also introduces new challenges to the medical writing profession:

  1. Automation vs. Expertise: AI can quickly create content but lacks the nuanced understanding of experienced medical writers.
  2. Speed vs. Accuracy: AI speeds up content creation but may miss crucial contextual details.
  3. Standardization vs. Personalization: AI excels at standard content but struggles to tailor information to specific audiences or cases.
  4. Plagiarism: AI may unintentionally create text similar to existing work, raising copyright concerns.
  5. Loss of Diversity: Overreliance on AI could homogenize writing styles and perspectives.
  6. Empathy and Context: Human writers bring emotional intelligence and real-world context that AI lacks.
  7. Critical Thinking: Experienced writers can evaluate information and make nuanced judgments better than AI.
  8. Creativity: Human writers excel at crafting compelling narratives and novel approaches.
  9. Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Medical writers often bridge different healthcare disciplines, a role AI struggles to fulfill.

Potential Job Displacement for Medical Writers

AI threatens both traditional and freelance medical services offered by writers:

  1. Automation of Routine Tasks: Basic writing and editing tasks may become automated, reducing demand for entry-level positions.
  2. Shift in Skill Requirements: Medical writers may need new skills in AI management and data analysis to stay competitive.
  3. Restructuring of Teams: Writing teams may shrink as AI takes on more responsibilities, with fewer writers managing more content.

Ethical Concerns Surrounding AI-Generated Medical Content

AI in medical writing raises ethical issues and could spread misinformation and bias:

  • Privacy: Using AI for personalized content raises concerns about patient data protection.
  • Ethical Decision-Making: Humans are better at navigating complex ethical issues.
  • Erosion of Trust: AI-generated content perceived as less reliable could undermine trust in medical literature.
  • Transparency: The "black box" nature of some AI models makes tracing information sources difficult.
  • Bias: AI models trained on biased datasets may perpetuate existing prejudices.
  • Amplification of Biases: Existing biases could be reinforced and spread through AI-generated content.
  • Misinformation: AI might produce inaccurate or misleading medical information.
  • Propagation of Errors: Minor inaccuracies in AI-generated content could spread quickly, impacting patient care.
AI-generated image of computer desktops displaying digital brain graphics, illustrating AI in Medical Writing.

Integrating AI into Medical Writing Practices

The Changing Skill Set Required for Medical Writers in the AI Era

To thrive in an AI-dominated landscape, medical writers must adapt by acquiring new skills and knowledge. Understanding AI capabilities, limitations, and ethical implications is crucial. Skills in data analysis become increasingly important as interpreting and validating AI-generated insights gain prominence. Writers need to focus on high-level planning and oversee AI-assisted content creation strategically.

Familiarity with interdisciplinary fields, such as computer science and ethics, becomes valuable. Advanced editing skills are essential to effectively review, critique, and improve AI-generated content. Learning to collaborate effectively with AI systems enhances productivity and ensures quality.

The Synergy Between Human Expertise and AI Capabilities

AI should be viewed as a collaborative tool rather than a substitute for human expertise. Successful integration hinges on leveraging the strengths of both human writers and AI systems. AI excels at data processing and pattern recognition, while humans bring creativity and contextual understanding. This complementary skill set enhances productivity by allowing AI to handle routine tasks, freeing writers to focus on strategic planning and complex analysis.

Human oversight combined with AI's consistency leads to fewer errors in medical documents. Writers can use AI to tailor content for different audiences while maintaining core medical accuracy. AI can inspire diverse ideas, prompting writers to explore new angles in medical communication. Rapid prototyping allows writers to quickly draft initial versions, accelerating the writing process. AI systems keep writers updated on the latest medical research and terminology, and assist in maintaining consistency across large volumes of content, supporting human editors.

The Importance of Human Oversight in AI-Generated Medical Content

Human involvement remains crucial in ensuring the quality and reliability of AI-generated medical writing. Humans can interpret AI-generated content within broader medical and social contexts, navigating ethical dilemmas that AI may not recognize. Human writers fine-tune AI-generated content to convey empathy and cultural sensitivity, critically evaluating the relevance and accuracy of AI-produced information. They ensure AI-generated content adheres to complex healthcare regulations.

The Evolving Role of Medical Writers in the AI Age

As AI becomes more integrated, the role of medical writers will transform. Writers will become adept at directing and fine-tuning AI tools for optimal results. They will focus on verifying and improving AI-generated content, concentrating on high-level messaging and tailoring content for specific purposes and audiences. Writers will play a crucial role in ensuring AI-assisted content adheres to ethical standards and regulatory requirements. They will bridge the gap between AI capabilities, medical expertise, and diverse stakeholder needs.

Final Thoughts

The future of medical writing lies in a symbiotic relationship between human expertise and AI capabilities. By embracing this partnership, the field can achieve unprecedented levels of efficiency, accuracy, and impact in healthcare communication. As AI continues to evolve, so too will the opportunities for medical writers to shape the future of health information dissemination. Ultimately, this will contribute to better patient outcomes and advancing medical knowledge on a global scale.

⚠️ Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. Please consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice.