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4 AI Prompting Techniques to Help You Stay Ahead in Medicine

With AI being increasingly integrated into healthcare, an understanding of AI prompting techniques is foundational knowledge every clinician needs. It’s the key to using artificial intelligence efficiently and getting usable output. Coming up are four core techniques that will form the basis of all your prompts, essential background, and a way to automatically create the perfect prompt!

AI prompting in healthcare: essential background

A prompt is a question or instruction that you give to an AI to elicit a specific response. And you can use these prompts with AIs like ChatGPT, Gemini, Bing Chat, or Claude

But, when you interact with an AI, it’s critically important to remember the two cardinal rules of AI prompting for healthcare professionals: 

  1. Always fact-check the AI’s output.
  2. Never share confidential information with the AI (unless you know the AI is compliant with your local privacy laws).

Now let’s dive into the core prompting strategies you need to know! 

Top 4 AI prompting techniques for healthcare professionals

When prompting an AI, a key principle is that the more clear and specific your prompt, the better the AI’s output will be. Also, even though the fact that it’s an AI makes it sound almost all-knowing, believe it or not, it actually benefits from your guidance. The following techniques for prompting AI systems will show you exactly how to do this.  

1. Role prompting

With role prompting, the AI is your actor and you’re the award-winning director. By setting the stage with clear direction, you unlock the AI’s potential to play the perfect part! Examples of the types of roles you can assign to the AI include the following:

  • Brainstorming partner
  • Cardiologist
  • Editor
  • Mentor
  • Question writer
  • Translator
2. Add parameters to your prompts

To maximise your odds of getting useful output from the AI, it’s important to add parameters to your prompts. These are additional details about what you need from its response. Here are some examples of the types of parameters you should consider: 

  • Type of text (e.g., email, academic paper, etc.)
  • Style of writing (e.g., academic, creative, descriptive, scientific, technical, etc.)
  • Tone (e.g., humorous, respectful, friendly, assertive, professional, casual, etc.)
  • Output language (e.g., English (US))
  • Reader comprehension (e.g. patient with no medical background)
  • Output length (e.g., one 200-word paragraph)
3. Name the task

The AI will generate completely different content depending on the task. For example, a paragraph in an email to a colleague, an outline for a presentation about the latest treatment guidelines, and a bullet point list of reminders for your patient will all look completely different, as they have different purposes, right? So, to ensure you get usable output from the AI, you need to tell it exactly what the task is. Here are some examples to show you what I mean:

  • Write a paragraph about [INSERT YOUR TOPIC HERE] 
  • Write a transition sentence between these two paragraphs: [PASTE YOUR PARAGRAPHS HERE].
  • Write an outline for my presentation about [INSERT YOUR TOPIC HERE].
  • Summarise this article: [PASTE YOUR ARTICLE HERE].
  • Provide feedback on my writing regarding grammar, coherence, and style: [PASTE YOUR TEXT HERE]
4. Refine the output

Think about the way you typically produce a piece of writing, whether it’s an email, a social media post, or an academic paper. The first draft is rarely perfect, so you end up needing to revise and improve it. Using AI will save you a lot of time on that first draft, but like any other writing you do, it’ll still need to go through that same revision process. 

Once you have the first draft from the AI, you can ask it to make changes. Think of it like having a back-and-forth “conversation” with the AI to polish its output. Examples of the types of revisions you might ask for are as follows:

  • Provide me with three more concise ways to word this sentence: [PASTE THE SENTENCE HERE]
  • Add information about [INSERT TOPIC] to this paragraph: [PASTE THE PARAGRAPH HERE].

Or maybe you like almost everything it wrote, but there’s one word that doesn’t sound quite right to you. Save brainstorming time and ask the AI for options:

  • Here is a sentence: [PASTE SENTENCE HERE]. Provide 5 alternatives for the word [INSERT THE PROBLEM WORD HERE].

Save time with automated prompts

Typing detailed prompts manually can be time-consuming. But did you know that you can automate it? 

Medmastery created a tool for quickly generating prompts with all the best practices already integrated, ensuring you won’t overlook key elements of a good prompt. It’s like having a virtual assistant at your side to guide you towards the perfect way to communicate with AIs like ChatGPT, Claude, and others. There are endless possibilities for the types of prompts you can create with this tool, but here are three examples:  

1. 24/7 on-call proofreading

Want to have a proofreader that’s available 24/7? Use a prompt like this to get an AI to do it:

Medmastery AI prompting tool 001

Whether it’s an email, an important paper, or a social media post, you’ll never need to be embarrassed by a typo again!

The amount of content an AI can proofread without confusing itself and making mistakes varies depending on the one you use. But a general rule of thumb is to start by asking it to proofread about 200 words at a time. If that experiment is successful, try a longer block of text and see how it performs.

2. AI notetaker

Use a prompt like this to ask the AI to summarise text for you:

Medmastery AI prompting tool 002

Of course, you’ll still have to fact-check the AI’s output. However, it’s often faster to edit a summary than to write one from scratch, so this prompt is worth having in your toolbox!

3. AI study and exam question writer

Here’s a prompt you can use to ask an AI to write the first draft of exam questions or study questions:

Medmastery AI prompting tool 003

Want to start experimenting on your own? Get access to the prompting tool now through a trial account at Medmastery.

Medmastery AI prompting tool 004

Harnessing the power of AI prompting techniques

With these foundational AI prompting techniques in your toolkit, you’re not just staying ahead in medicine; you’re shaping its future. And whether you’re using AI to help you get the wording right for an email to a colleague, nail the outline for a presentation, polish your resume, or outline key points for patient education information, you’ll find yourself using the above core strategies over and over again.


References

Educational Resources

AI in HEALTHCARE

Want to become a pro at prompting, and consistently get usable results? Be sure to check out Medmastery’s AI prompting course. Learn techniques to apply to the plethora of AI resources in constant development.

BSc.Pharm (University of Manitoba), Pharmacist and Medical Writer

BA MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM. Emergency physician, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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