BMJ FMCH: Universal health information is essential for universal health coverage (2) AI and Large language models (4)

28 May, 2023

Dear Geoff,

Many thanks for highlighting this paper, Geoff. [ ]

The article seems more about the WHO resource 'Your life, your health' and not really about universal access and how to achieve it. I hope it will open up an interesting discussion here on HIFA. The assertion that access is a human right is highly contentious and all our work on this so far suggests it is a determinant of the right to health but it is not yet recognised as a human right in itself. One of the questions in our forthcoming survey (to be released in July) asks if it should indeed be a right.

Also, there seems to be an implication in the paper that a single resource can do much of the job of providing ‘universal access’. Having looked at it, I would disagree, not least because it appears to be online-only and only in English. The classic manual 'Where there is no doctor' still stands for me the most useful single resource, and the author David Werner is a valued member of HIFA. But in my view it is not possible to put 'essential healthcare information' in a box - 'essential healthcare information' is quintessentially contextual.

Tools such as ChatGPT are likely to trump them all and I believe could within the next 5-10 years really do a lot to deliver a version of ‘reliable healthcare information for (nearly) everyone. Much more so than Your life, your health or even Where there is no doctor. ChatGPT and the like have huge potential to improve the availability of reliable healthcare information, *but* there are many caveats and risks (known and unknown) as well.

Best wishes, Neil

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of HIFA (Healthcare Information For All), a global health community that brings all stakeholders together around the shared goal of universal access to reliable healthcare information. HIFA has 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting in four languages and representing all parts of the global evidence ecosystem. HIFA is administered by Global Healthcare Information Network, a UK-based nonprofit in official relations with the World Health Organization. Email: