FHC #137: How generative AI could have saved my father

In this special episode of Fixing Healthcare, co-hosts Dr. Robert Pearl and Jeremy Corr dive into surprising insights and lessons drawn from Dr. Pearl’s literary works. Focusing on his 2017 book “Mistreated: Why We Think We’re Getting Good Healthcare—and Why We’re Usually Wrong,” and his new release, “ChatGPT, MD: How AI-Empowered Patients & Doctors Can Take Back Control of American Medicine,” Pearl compares the world healthcare, now and then.

The episode opens with Corr asking Pearl about the motivation behind his newest book and how it connects to his previous works. Dr. Pearl recounts his journey, starting with the revelations from his time as CEO of Kaiser Permanente, where he realized the systemic flaws in American healthcare. His first book, “Mistreated,” was written to highlight these issues, comparing healthcare to a 19th century cottage industry that was stuck in the past.

Despite the optimism following the publication “Mistreated,” Dr. Pearl observed that little had changed in the following years. This led him to explore the deep-seated cultural issues in medicine in his second book, “Uncaring: How the Culture of Medicine Kills Doctors and Patients.” Yet again, change remained elusive.

Pearl’s newest book, “ChatGPT, MD” emerged from the realization that a powerful tool like generative AI could finally catalyze the much-needed transformation in healthcare. This book, co-authored with ChatGPT itself, delves into the potential of AI to enhance diagnoses, manage chronic diseases and streamline patient care, making healthcare more efficient and equitable.

To illustrate the ongoing challenges and the potential impact of AI, Dr. Pearl reads excerpts from the first and last chapters of “Mistreated,” recounting the harrowing story of his father, Jack Pearl. Through this personal narrative, he highlights the tragic consequences of medical errors and systemic failures that led to his father’s untimely death.

Dr. Pearl then discusses three significant ways his father’s care could have been improved with the advent of generative AI. And he expresses optimism that the introduction of generative AI into healthcare can finally drive the changes he has long advocated for, making the system more effective, compassionate and patient-centered.

Tune in to this compelling episode to hear Dr. Pearl’s reflections and visions for the future of healthcare, and join the conversation on social media.


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Dr. Robert Pearl is the author of the upcoming book “ChatGPT, MD: How AI-Empowered Patients & Doctors Can Take Back Control of American Medicine.” All profits from the book go to Doctors Without Borders.

Fixing Healthcare is a co-production of Dr. Robert Pearl and Jeremy Corr. Subscribe to the show via Apple, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you find podcasts. Join the conversation or suggest a guest by following the show on Twitter and LinkedIn.