Should Patients and Physicians use ChatGPT to Improve Care?

ChatGPT has captured world-wide attention. Entrepreneurs are using it to build businesses. Developers are using it to help write code. Even TV reporters are using it to help craft their on-air stories. The question is not whether ChatGPT will be used in healthcare, but how and where it will be used. It is only a matter of time.

On the next HCLDR Tweetchat on Tuesday April 4th at 8:30pm ET, I thought it would be interesting to discuss how generative AI and ChatGPT in particular could be used to improve care.

ChatGPT to Help Patients Communicate

One of the first articles I read about ChatGPT was how job seekers were using it to generate professional sounding cover letters. They would simply type in several of the skills that the company was looking for, along with information about the company itself into the ChatGPT interface…and poof…it would write a well crafted cover letter. This was especially helpful for job seekers who were not proficient in English.

My immediate thought was could patients use ChatGPT to help them communicate better with physicians, healthcare organizations, and payers. For example, could a patient use ChatGPT to write a compelling letter to advocate for a different opinion or approach to their care.

So I tried it.

Here is the prompt I used as input into ChatGPT:

Write a letter to help convince a hospital to consider a different treatment for my mother’s illness. Use a professional tone, but express firmly that I will not accept the “we have always done it this way” answer they have been giving me. Be polite and reference how other patients are seeing improved outcomes using a different treatment option. Include a statement about how we want to collaborate with the care team that is taking care of my mother not argue with them and how in the end, we all want the same thing – for my mother’s condition to improve.

Here is what ChatGPT generated:

Dear [Hospital Administrator/Doctor],

I am writing to express my concerns regarding the current treatment plan for my mother’s illness. While I appreciate the care and attention that she has been receiving from your hospital, I strongly believe that we need to explore alternative treatment options that could potentially lead to better outcomes for her.

I understand that your hospital has a set protocol for treating this particular illness, but I want to respectfully challenge the notion that “we have always done it this way.” There have been cases where patients have seen significant improvements in their conditions by trying different treatment approaches, and I believe my mother deserves the same chance.

I am not here to argue with the care team that is taking care of my mother. On the contrary, I want to collaborate with you to find the best possible solution for her. I am open to hearing your perspective and am willing to discuss the pros and cons of different treatment options. I believe that by working together, we can make a more informed decision about how to move forward.

I would also like to point out that my concerns are not based on anecdotal evidence or hearsay. There are other patients who have seen improved outcomes by trying different treatment approaches, and I would like my mother to have the same opportunity.

In the end, we all want the same thing – for my mother’s condition to improve. I want to ensure that we exhaust all possible options before settling on a treatment plan. I understand that there may be risks associated with trying something new, but I am willing to take those risks if it means a better chance at improving my mother’s health.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my concerns. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this matter.


There are obviously some limitations to this letter from ChatGPT. For example, there should be references to studies or reports from other patients having success with the alternative treatment that I would like the care team to consider for my mother. But all in all, it is a well written letter.

The question is, should patients use ChatGPT in this way to help them get better care?

I’m being a little facetious because I believe almost universally the answer is YES…especially for patients who do not speak English at home.

However, does the same sentiment hold for physicians using ChatGPT to communicate with patients?

ChatGPT to Help Physicians Communicate

A recent article in The Lancet, discussed how ChatGPT “has the potential to produce high quality clinical letters that are comprehendible by patients while improving efficiency, consistency, accuracy, patient satisfaction, and deliver cost savings to a health-care system.”

It takes time for doctors to write clinical letters to patients. What if they could write a short prompt and have ChatGPT generate an understandable letter, saving them precious time and improving overall patient communication? Should they not take advantage of this type of technology?

Like any tool, I would hope that any doctor using ChatGPT proofreads and edits the resulting letter. Accepting ChatGPT’s output blindly does not seem like a recipe for success. But as we look for ways to reduce costs. improve access and decrease the burden on clinicians, using a tool like ChatGPT could be a relatively easy way to address these challenges.

Having said that, there are privacy concerns with using ChatGPT that would need to be addressed, but that could easily be addressed if hospitals were to adopt their own version of ChatGPT that was within their control and not open to the public.


On Tuesday April 4th at 8:30pm ET (for your local time click here) join the HCLDR community for a lively discussion on the use of ChatGPT in healthcare. Below are the questions we will be discussing:

  • Q1 How have you used ChatGPT and did you find it helpful? If you haven’t, what concerns do you have?
  • Q2 Would you encourage patients to use ChatGPT? If so, how? If not, why not?
  • Q3 In what ways would you be comfortable with your care team or payer using ChatGPT?
  • Q4 Where do you draw the line, today, regarding the use of ChatGPT in healthcare and what would have to happen to move that line?


Ali, Stephen R et al. “Using ChatGPT to write patient clinic letters”, The Lancet, 7 March 2023,, accessed 4 April 2023

Klenske, Nick. “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Using ChatGPT”, RSNA News, 6 March 2023,, accessed 4 April 2023

Marr, Bernard. “Revolutionizing Healthcare: The Top 14 Uses Of ChatGPT In Medicine And Wellness”, Forbes, 2 March 2023,, accessed 4 April 2023

“Will ChatGPT transform healthcare”, Nature Medicine, 14 March 2023,, accessed 4 April 2023

Gupta, Sanchit. “The future of medicine: How ChatGPT can revolutionize health care”, Healthy Debate, 13 February 2023,, accessed 4 April 2023

Sallam, Malik et al. “ChatGPT Output Regarding Compulsory Vaccination and COVID-19 Vaccine Conspiracy: A Descriptive Study at the Outset of a Paradigm Shift in Online Search for Information”, Cureus, 15 February 2023,, accessed 4 April 2023

Image Credit

Photo by Andrew Neel:

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