Robert Wachter, MD


Medicine Home, Hospital Medicine, Hospital Medicine UCSF Health

Robert M. Wachter, MD is Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine at UCSF, where he is the Holly Smith Distinguished Professor in Science and Medicine and the Benioff Endowed Chair in Hospital Medicine. The department leads the nation in NIH grants and is generally ranked as one of the nation’s best. Wachter is author of 300 articles and 6 books. He coined the term “hospitalist” in 1996 and is often considered the father of the hospitalist field, the fastest growing specialty in the history of modern medicine. He is past president of the Society of Hospital Medicine and past chair of the American Board of Internal Medicine. In the safety and quality arenas, he has written two books on the subject, including Understanding Patient Safety, the world’s top selling safety primer. His 2015 book, The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age, was a New York Times science bestseller. In 2016, he chaired a blue-ribbon commission advising England’s National Health Service on its digital strategy. In 2020, his tweets on Covid-19 were viewed over 100 million times by 150,000 followers and served as a trusted source of information on the clinical, public health, and policy issues surrounding the pandemic.

Among his honors include: John M. Eisenberg Award (the nation’s top honor in patient safety); ranked by Modern Healthcare magazine as one of the 50 most influential physician-executives in the U.S. thirteen times (#1 in 2015); Master of the American College of Physicians; National Academy of Medicine.

2018 - Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Champion Training, University of California
Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars, 1990 - Health Policy, Ethics, Epidemiology, Stanford University
Chief Resident, 1988 - Internal Medicine, University of California, San Francisco
Residency, 1986 - Internal Medicine, University of California, San Francisco
M.D., 1983 - School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
B.A., 1979 - Political Science/Biology, University of Pennsylvania
Honors and Awards
  • MACP (Master of the ACP), American College of Physicians, 2020
  • Elected Member, National Academy of Medicine, 2020
  • Chair of Int'l Advisory Board, The Healthcare Improvement Studies (THIS) Institute, Univ of Cambridge, 2019-now
  • Holly Smith Distinguished Professor in Science and Medicine, UCSF, 2017
  • Commencement Speaker, Univ of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 2017
  • #1 Most Influential Physician-Executive in the United States, Modern Healthcare magazine, 2015
  • "The Digital Doctor" on the Science Bestseller List, The New York Times, 2015
  • Alumni of the Year award, Univ of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 2015
  • Chair of the Board, American Board of Internal Medicine, 2013-2014
  • Neilson Distinguished Professor Award (leadership of specialty medicine in US), Assoc of Specialty Professors of Medicine, 2011
  • US-UK Fulbright Scholar (study at Imperial College London), Fulbright Commission, 2011
  • Master of Hospital Medicine, Society of Hospital Medicine, 2010
  • Holly Smith Award for exceptional service to School of Medicine, UCSF, 2008
  • Named one of 50 most influential physician-executives in US (each year), Modern Healthcare magazine, 2007-2018
  • Benioff Endowed Chair in Hospital Medicine, 2007
  • John M Eisenberg Award (nation's top honor in patient safety), National Quality Forum/Joint Commission, 2004
  • First elected president, Society of Hospital Medicine, 2000
  • Academic Senate Distinction in Teaching Award, UCSF, 1996
  1. The Risks of Prescribing Hydroxychloroquine for Treatment of COVID-19-First, Do No Harm.
  2. Sharing Health Care Data With Digital Giants: Overcoming Obstacles and Reaping Benefits While Protecting Patients.
  3. Ethics in Conflict: Moral Distress as a Root Cause of Burnout.
  4. The Molecular Medicine Investigation Unit: Linking Patient Care and Scientific Inquiry in Physician-Scientist Training.
  5. Atrial fibrillation is frequent but does not affect risk stratification in pulmonary embolism.
  6. Patient safety movement in neurological surgery: the current state and future directions.
  7. Six habits of highly successful health information technology: powerful strategies for design and implementation.
  8. Integrating Health Care Technologies: Challenges and Lessons Learned from One Medical Center's Experience.
  9. Promoting Trust Between Patients and Physicians in the Era of Artificial Intelligence.
  10. Reimagining Specialty Consultation in the Digital Age: The Potential Role of Targeted Automatic Electronic Consultations.
  11. Artificial Intelligence in Health Care: Will the Value Match the Hype?
  12. Restricting the Number of Open Patient Records in the Electronic Health Record: Is the Record Half Open or Half Closed?
  13. Transforming concepts in patient safety: a progress report.
  14. Resolving the Productivity Paradox of Health Information Technology: A Time for Optimism.
  15. Understanding Patient Safety, 3rd Edition
  16. Hospitalist and Internal Medicine Leaders' Perspectives of Early Discharge Challenges at Academic Medical Centers.
  17. Pragmatic Insights on Patient Safety Priorities and Intervention Strategies in Ambulatory Settings.
  18. Automatic detection of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation in patients with ischaemic stroke: better than routine diagnostic workup?
  19. International Exchange and American Medicine.
  20. Development of a high-value care culture survey: a modified Delphi process and psychometric evaluation.
  21. Rethinking medical ward quality.
  22. Measurement, Certification, and Quality: Meeting Enduring Challenges with Modern Tools.
  23. The Search for Better Patient Handoff Tools.
  24. Zero to 50,000 - The 20th Anniversary of the Hospitalist.
  25. Web Exclusives. Annals for Hospitalists Inpatient Notes - Hospitalists and Digital Medicine-Overcoming the Productivity Paradox.
  26. Financial incentives and mortality: taking pay for performance a step too far.
  27. Advancing the next generation of handover research and practice with cognitive load theory.
  28. Hospitalists, value and the future.
  29. Reimagining Electronic Clinical Communication in the Post-Pager, Smartphone Era.
  30. CLINICAL PROBLEM-SOLVING. A Breakthrough Diagnosis.
  31. Effects of Interdisciplinary Team Care Interventions on General Medical Wards: A Systematic Review.
  32. Hospital medicine in 2015: Remarkable successes and a crucial crossroads.
  33. Interview of Robert M. Wachter, MD.
  34. A Conversation With Robert Wachter, MD. Reality Bytes: Medicine's Bumpy Ride Into the Digital Age.
  35. The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype, and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine's Computer Age
  36. English National Health Service's savings plan may have helped reduce the use of three 'low-value' procedures.
  37. National hospital ratings systems share few common scores and may generate confusion instead of clarity.
  38. Reverse epidemiology in different stages of heart failure.
  39. Patient safety is not elective: a debate at the NPSF Patient Safety Congress.
  40. Improving the quality and safety of care on the medical ward: A review and synthesis of the evidence base.
  41. Development of a hospital-based program focused on improving healthcare value.
  42. Grading residents' clinical performance: unique opportunities and challenges.
  43. Hospitalist workload: the search for the magic number.
  44. Computerised provider order entry combined with clinical decision support systems to improve medication safety: a narrative review.
  45. Safety in numbers: the development of Leapfrog's composite patient safety score for U.S. hospitals.
  46. Impact of universal health insurance coverage on hypertension management: a cross-national study in the United States and England.
  47. Diagnostic errors: central to patient safety, yet still in the periphery of safety's radar screen1).
  48. Responding to clinicians who fail to follow patient safety practices: perceptions of physicians, nurses, trainees, and patients.
  49. Changing our culture to advance patient safety: the 2013 AANS Presidential Address.
  50. Observation status for hospitalized patients: a maddening policy begging for revision.
  51. Bringing continuing medical education to the bedside: the University of California, San Francisco Hospitalist Mini-College.
  52. Focusing on value: this time is different.
  53. Progress in patient safety: a glass fuller than it seems.
  54. Access to primary care and visits to emergency departments in England: a cross-sectional, population-based study.
  55. Hospital-initiated transitional care interventions as a patient safety strategy: a systematic review.
  56. Strategies to improve patient safety: the evidence base matures.
  57. The top patient safety strategies that can be encouraged for adoption now.
  58. Making health care safer II: an updated critical analysis of the evidence for patient safety practices.
  59. Attending physicians on ward rounds--reply.
  60. Development and implementation of a balanced scorecard in an academic hospitalist group.
  61. Bringing diagnosis into the quality and safety equations.
  62. Disciplining doctors for misconduct: character matters, but so does competence.
  63. The attending physician on the wards: finding a new homeostasis.
  64. Predictors of likelihood of speaking up about safety concerns in labour and delivery.
  65. Personal accountability in healthcare: searching for the right balance.
  66. Specialty hospitalists: analyzing an emerging phenomenon.
  67. Associations between Internet-based patient ratings and conventional surveys of patient experience in the English NHS: an observational study.
  68. High-profile investigations into hospital safety problems in England did not prompt patients to switch providers.
  69. Associations between Web-based patient ratings and objective measures of hospital quality.
  70. Renaissance of hospital generalists.
  71. Understanding Patient Safety
  72. Effects of a multicentre teamwork and communication programme on patient outcomes: results from the Triad for Optimal Patient Safety (TOPS) project.
  73. Can healthcare go from good to great?
  74. Hospital performance trends on national quality measures and the association with Joint Commission accreditation.
  75. "July effect": impact of the academic year-end changeover on patient outcomes: a systematic review.
  76. Improving follow-up of high-risk psychiatry outpatients at resident year-end transfer.
  77. What context features might be important determinants of the effectiveness of patient safety practice interventions?
  78. A framework for classifying patient safety practices: results from an expert consensus process.
  79. Advancing the science of patient safety.
  80. The hazards of drawing conclusions from before-and-after studies of system-level interventions: knowing may not be enough.
  81. Effective physician-nurse communication: a patient safety essential for labor and delivery.
  82. How does context affect interventions to improve patient safety? An assessment of evidence from studies of five patient safety practices and proposals for research.
  83. Critical conversations: a call for a nonprocedural "time out".
  84. Filling the black hole of hospital discharge (editorial in response to article by Walz et al.,J Gen Intern Med 2011).
  85. The hospitalist field turns 15: new opportunities and challenges.
  86. Inability of providers to predict unplanned readmissions.
  87. Commentary: Medical malpractice and patient safety: tear down that wall!
  88. Investing in the future: building an academic hospitalist faculty development program.
  89. The role of theory in research to develop and evaluate the implementation of patient safety practices.
  90. Comanagement of surgical patients between neurosurgeons and hospitalists.
  91. Republished paper: Improving safety culture on adult medical units through multidisciplinary teamwork and communication interventions: the TOPS Project.
  92. Why diagnostic errors don't get any respect--and what can be done about them.
  93. Improving safety culture on adult medical units through multidisciplinary teamwork and communication interventions: the TOPS Project.
  94. Responsibility for quality improvement and patient safety: hospital board and medical staff leadership challenges.
  95. Accountability measures--using measurement to promote quality improvement.
  96. Potential unintended consequences due to Medicare's "no pay for errors" rule? A randomized controlled trial of an educational intervention with internal medicine residents.
  97. Bleeding talent: a lesson from industry on embracing physician workforce challenges.
  98. The relationship between hospitalists and primary care physicians.
  99. Cross-sectional analysis of hospitalist prevalence and quality of care in California.
  100. Patient whiteboards as a communication tool in the hospital setting: a survey of practices and recommendations.
  101. Understanding the new vocabulary of healthcare reform.
  102. Patient safety at 10 years: how far have we come? What's next?
  103. Assessing the Evidence for Context-Sensitive Effectiveness and Safety of Patient Safety Practices: Developing Criteria
  104. Patient safety at ten: unmistakable progress, troubling gaps.
  105. Perspective: Physician leadership in quality.
  106. Entering the second decade of the patient safety movement: the field matures: comment on "disclosure of hospital adverse events and its association with patients' ratings of the quality of care".
  107. California hospital leaders' views of hospitalists: meeting needs of the present and future.
  108. Balancing "no blame" with accountability in patient safety.
  109. Impact of duty-hour restriction on resident inpatient teaching.
  110. Academic year-end transfers of outpatients from outgoing to incoming residents: an unaddressed patient safety issue.
  111. Applying Toyota Production System principles to a psychiatric hospital: making transfers safer and more timely.
  112. Diagnostic errors and patient safety.
  113. Refocusing the lens: patient safety in ambulatory chronic disease care.
  114. Growth in care provided by hospitalists.
  115. I-CaRe: a case review tool focused on improving inpatient care.
  116. A multidisciplinary teamwork training program: the Triad for Optimal Patient Safety (TOPS) experience.
  117. Public reporting of antibiotic timing in patients with pneumonia: lessons from a flawed performance measure.
  118. Quality of primary care and hospital admissions for diabetes mellitus in England.
  119. The wisdom and justice of not paying for "preventable complications".
  120. Perspectives on medical outsourcing and telemedicine--rough edges in a flat world?
  121. The future of general surgery.
  122. The state of hospital medicine in 2008.
  123. Medicare's decision to withhold payment for hospital errors: the devil is in the det.
  124. Neurohospitalists: an emerging model for inpatient neurological care.
  125. Color-coded wristbands: promoting safety or confusion?
  126. Identification of inpatient DNR status: a safety hazard begging for standardization.
  127. The surgical hospitalist: a new solution for emergency surgical care?
  128. The GAAP in quality measurement and reporting.
  129. Drug withdrawals in the United States: a systematic review of the evidence and analysis of trends.
  130. The surgical hospitalist: a new model for emergency surgical care.
  131. Complications and patient satisfaction after periacetabular pelvic osteotomy.
  132. What will board certification be-and mean-for hospitalists?
  133. The impact of duty hours on resident self reports of errors.
  134. The 100,000 Lives Campaign: A scientific and policy review.
  135. Quality grand rounds: the case for patient safety.
  136. Is ambulatory patient safety just like hospital safety, only without the "stat"?
  137. The expanding role of hospitalists in the United States.
  138. Tracking progress in patient safety: an elusive target.
  139. The hospitalist movement 10 years later: life as a Swiss army knife.
  140. Trends in market demand for internal medicine 1999 to 2004: an analysis of physician job advertisements.
  141. Managing discontinuity in academic medical centers: strategies for a safe and effective resident sign-out.
  142. Reflections: the hospitalist movement a decade later.
  143. Could computerization harm patient safety?
  144. Expected and unanticipated consequences of the quality and information technology revolutions.
  145. Proposed standards for quality improvement research and publication: one step forward and two steps back.
  146. Effect of the inpatient general medicine rotation on student pursuit of a generalist career.
  147. International teleradiology.
  148. The "dis-location" of U.S. medicine--the implications of medical outsourcing.
  149. Impact of reduced duty hours on residents' educational satisfaction at the University of California, San Francisco.
  150. Clinical problem-solving. One surprise after another.
  151. Hospital Medicine (2nd Edition)
  152. The faces of errors: a case-based approach to educating providers, policymakers, and the public about patient safety.
  153. Effects of hospitalist attending physicians on trainee satisfaction with teaching and with internal medicine rotations.
  154. The patient safety movement will help, not harm, quality.
  155. Medical and surgical comanagement after elective hip and knee arthroplasty: a randomized, controlled trial.
  156. The end of the beginning: patient safety five years after 'to err is human'.
  157. Hospitalists in the United States--mission accomplished or work in progress?
  158. Closing the Quality Gap: A Critical Analysis of Quality Improvement Strategies (four volume series)
  159. Internal Bleeding: The Truth Behind America's Terrifying Epidemic of Medical Mistakes
  160. Intensivist consultation and outcomes in critically ill patients.
  161. Hospitalists: the new model of inpatient medical care in the United States.
  162. Improved survival with highly active antiretroviral therapy in HIV-infected patients with severe Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia.
  163. Implementation of a voluntary hospitalist service at a community teaching hospital: improved clinical efficiency and patient outcomes.
  164. Intensive care of human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients during the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy.
  165. Safe but sound: patient safety meets evidence-based medicine.
  166. The evolution of the hospitalist model in the United States.
  167. The evolution of the hospitalist movement in the USA.
  168. Learning from our mistakes: quality grand rounds, a new case-based series on medical errors and patient safety.
  169. Primary care physician attitudes regarding communication with hospitalists.
  170. The "continuity visit" and the hospitalist model of care.
  171. The patient provider relationship and the hospitalist movement. Introduction.
  172. The hospitalist movement 5 years later.
  173. Primary care physician attitudes regarding communication with hospitalists.
  174. The "continuity visit" and the hospitalist model of care.
  175. A pneumonia practice guideline and a hospitalist-based reorganization lead to equivalent efficiency gains.
  176. Caregiver perceptions of the reasons for delayed hospital discharge.
  177. Who will pay for the value of hospitalists?
  178. Hospitalists' perceptions of their residency training needs: results of a national survey.
  179. Does continuity of care matter? No: discontinuity can improve patient care.
  180. The benefits of using hospitalists.
  181. Hospitals and hospitalists can reach across the "quality chasm" by restructuring inpatient care.
  182. Response to David Meltzer's paper "Hospitalists and the doctor-patient relationship".
  183. Implications of the hospitalist model for medical students' education.
  184. Assessing hospital quality: a review for clinicians.
  185. Making Health Care Safer: A Critical Analysis of Patient Safety Practices
  186. Making health care safer: a critical analysis of patient safety practices.
  187. Physician attitudes toward and prevalence of the hospitalist model of care: results of a national survey.
  188. Debunking myths about the hospitalist movement.
  189. Outcomes of intensive care for patients with human immunodeficiency virus infection.
  190. The unintended consequences of measuring quality on the quality of medical care.
  191. Assessment of prognosis in patients with community-acquired pneumonia who require mechanical ventilation.
  192. Unreliability of physician "report cards" to assess cost and quality of care.
  193. Training future hospitalists.
  194. Risk factors for early hospital readmission in patients with AIDS and pneumonia.
  195. A new doctor in the house: ethical issues in hospitalist systems.
  196. Hospitalist staffing requirements.
  197. The potential size of the hospitalist workforce in the United States.
  198. Financial implications of implementing a hospitalist program.
  199. An introduction to the hospitalist model.
  200. Hospitalists and the practice of inpatient medicine: results of a survey of the National Association of Inpatient Physicians.
  201. The hospitalist movement: ten issues to consider.
  202. Implications of the hospitalist movement for academic departments of medicine: lessons from the UCSF experience.
  203. The hospitalist movement and its implications for the care of hospitalized children.
  204. The hospitalist movement and the future of academic general internal medicine.
  205. Effect of evaluator and resident gender on the American Board of Internal Medicine evaluation scores.
  206. Reorganizing an academic medical service: impact on cost, quality, patient satisfaction, and education.
  207. A model hospitalist training program.
  208. The emerging role of "hospitalists" in the American health care system.
  209. Intensive care for patients with AIDS: clinical and ethical issues.
  210. Cost and outcome of intensive care for patients with AIDS, Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, and severe respiratory failure.
  211. Rationing health care: preparing for a new era.
  212. Respiratory failure from severe Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. Entering the third era.
  213. The ethical appropriateness of using prognostic scoring systems in clinical management.
  214. Advance directives for patients with human immunodeficiency virus infection.
  215. Screening women of childbearing age for human immunodeficiency virus. A cost-benefit analysis.
  216. AIDs, activism, and the politics of health.
  217. Critical care of patients with AIDS.
  218. Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia and respiratory failure in AIDS. Improved outcomes and increased use of intensive care units.
  219. The Fragile Coalition: Scientists, Activists and AIDS
  220. Intensive care for patients with Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia and respiratory failure. Are we prepared for our new success?
  221. Decisions about resuscitation: inequities among patients with different diseases but similar prognoses.
  222. Life-sustaining treatment for patients with AIDS.
  223. An acute exacerbation of P. carinii pneumonia.
  224. Intensive care for patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
  225. A hidden complication of heart disease.
  226. Intensive care of patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome: time for a reassessment?
  227. Attitudes of medical residents regarding intensive care for patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
  228. Ethical dilemmas about intensive care for patients with AIDS.
  229. Symptomatic hypotension induced by nifedipine in the acute treatment of severe hypertension.
  230. Intensive care of patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Outcome and changing patterns of utilization.
  231. Lethargy and confusion after total nephrectomy.
  232. The impact of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome on medical residency training.
  233. Ripping and filing Journal articles.