Gurpreet Dhaliwal

Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and Expert on Decision-Making and How People Think

Gurpreet Dhaliwal
  • Expert diagnostician who works through medical mysteries at rapid speed
  • Contributor to the Wall Street Journal’s Health Report Blog
  • Professional insight on physician leadership, engagement and high-value care
  • Discusses technological developments and challenges in the healthcare industry

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Gurpreet Dhaliwal M.D. is a clinician-educator and Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco. He sees patients and teaches medical students and residents in the emergency department, inpatient wards, and outpatient clinic at the San Francisco VA Medical Center, where he directs the internal medicine clerkship.

He studies, writes, and speaks about how doctors think – how they make diagnoses, how they develop diagnostic expertise, and what motivates them to improve their practice and the systems in which they work.

Dr. Dhaliwal is a member of the UCSF Academy of Medical Educators and the UCSF Department of Medicine Council of Master Clinicians.

He has published 130 articles and has been a visiting professor at multiple universities across the U.S. and in China and Japan.

He has received multiple teaching awards, including the 2019 UCSF Osler Distinguished Teacher Award and the 2015 national Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award.

In 2012 he was profiled in the New York Times in an article entitled “Could A Computer Outthink This Doctor?” Dr. Dhaliwal writes for the Wall Street Journal’s The Experts Health Care Report. He has been a podcast guest on The Curbsiders, IMreasoning, The Clinical Problem Solvers, and Explore the Space.

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A Bottom-Up Approach to Physician Accountability

Mission in a Minute

How does a doctor diagnose?

Gurpreet Dhaliwal: Physician Leadership and Diagnosis

How Doctors Think: Implications for Quality, Cost, and Safety. Health care systems need physician engagement to deliver high value care. In order to engage the profession and change the way physicians view their role in an organization, managers and leaders need to understand the psychological forces that govern physician behavior. In this talk, Dr. Dhaliwal discusses the powerful influences of social norms, uncertainty (including malpractice), and professional identity and how these forces can be leveraged to engage physicians in system-wide goals and initiatives, including the effects on healthcare reform.

Can Computers Diagnose? Even since IBM's Watson supercomputer defeated human Jeopardy champions in 2011, the medical world has been abuzz about the possibility that a supercomputer can one day diagnose patients. With technological developments like driverless cars and the promise of Big Data, this seems like a forgone conclusion. In this talk, Dr. Dhaliwal examines the reality of teaching a computer how to diagnose the human condition. He touches on the promise and challenges of a diagnostic droid and raises the question of which is more remarkable: the computer and its artificial intelligence, or the human brain it’s trying to emulate?

The Physician Leadership Imperative. Health care systems need physician leadership in order to effect change. Physicians and non-physicians alike may equate “leadership” with major administrative and organizational positions. In this talk, Dr. Dhaliwal outlines a broader view of leadership with examples of the many ways physicians can and must lead – in their own clinic, in their group, or in their organization. The theme of the coming change in the medical profession’s identity is integrated throughout.

Inside the Diagnostician’s Mind. The most expensive piece of equipment in all of medicine is the physician’s mind. Years of study and hundreds of thousands of dollars are invested into its development, and the decisions it makes drive most of the dollars spent in health care. In this talk, Dr. Dhaliwal provides a “user’s guide to the brain” and shows how physicians navigate between pattern recognition and analytical thinking when making medical decisions. Both the hope and hype around information technology solutions (e.g, IBM Watson) are discussed.

Clinical Judgment: Good to Great. A physician’s diagnostic and therapeutic skills are a core part of their identity, a source of professional satisfaction, and a major driver of health outcomes (good and bad) and expenditures. In this talk, Dr. Dhaliwal emphasizes the difference between becoming an experienced physician and expert physician. He outlines action steps that physicians can adopt from other professions who engage in career-long continuous improvement of their decision-making skills. Clinicians and non-clinicians leave the talk understanding how they can go from good to great.

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