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AI Chatbots advance Genetic Counseling technologies

Nadia Illma

Are robots going to replace all of our jobs? The answer is no, especially not in the medical and health field, where a doctor-patient relationship is vital in order to provide proper treatment options for a patient. However, AI has become a readily accessible tool to expedite some of the processes in the medical field. For roles with straightforward conversations between a person and their patient, AI has been able to aid in or replicate these communications.

Genetic counseling has been revered for its ability to aid people in making decisions about their future. Having someone look into your family history and identify the existence of inheritable conditions provides priceless insight. For this reason, many approach genetic counseling as the first step in their healthcare journey. Counselors are able to analyze genetic tests and communicate them in an easy to understand way to clients. These conversations allow for clients to ask questions about specific details and next steps to take.

Alongside the growth of online genetic counseling services has been the growth of AI conversation tools. With the skills that these tools contain, genetic counseling methods have been developed through AI conversation services. DNAvisit, a company that sells telehealth services directly to customers, uses AI to faster analyze conversations between a counselor and a patient and provide different options for what the counselor could reply with. With methods such as this one, counselors are then able to edit these messages and specialize them to a patient’s needs before sending them.

Other companies, such as Invitae and Geisinger, have implemented chatbots that guide the entire conversation with a patient. The AI is able to receive results, analyze them, and provide further insight for the patient without ever having to consult a human. Geisinger utilizes a chatbot known as GIA, developed by Clear Genetics. GIA collects patient data, such as their family history of diseases, to provide patients with further data about genetic testing. GIA is also able to answer specific questions pertaining to having a patient’s children tested, how much a test costs after insurance, and if the patient would like to share this information with any relatives.

Recent studies have been in development to analyze the effectiveness of AI in genetic counseling situations. A clinical trial is currently being conducted in order to test this for breast cancer patients, and the trial is expected to be completed by June 2024. OptraHEALTH and Microsoft Azure designed a chatbot called GeneFAX Pro, also currently under evaluation.





References


Cohen, J. K. (2023, April 14). Human, AI chat tools may be able to fill genetic counseling gaps in DTC testing. Precision Medicine Online. https://www.precisionmedicineonline.com/informatics/human-ai-chat-tools-may-be-able-fill-genetic-counseling-gaps-dtc-testing

Houser, K. (2021, July 7). These chatbots help patients decide whether DNA testing is right for them. Freethink. https://www.freethink.com/health/genetic-counseling

Nazareth, S., Nussbaum, R. L., Siglen, E., & Wicklund, C. A. (2020). Risk assessment and genetic counseling for ... - Wiley Online Library. Journal of Genetic Counseling. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jgc4.1374


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