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Robert Wachter, M.D.

Chief of Hospital Medicine and chief of Medical Service

Dr. Robert Wachter is chief of the medical service and chief of the Division of Hospital Medicine at UCSF Medical Center. His primary interests are health care quality, safety and health policy. He has published over 200 articles and six books on these topics, and is generally credited as the founder and academic leader of the hospitalist specialty in medicine, the fastest growing specialty in U.S. medical history. He is past president of the Society of Hospital Medicine.

Wachter is an international leader in safety and quality. He is the editor of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Web M&M, an online patient safety journal, and of AHRQ Patient Safety Network (PSNet), the leading federal patient safety portal, which together receive 3 million yearly visits. He has written two bestselling books on patient safety: Internal Bleeding: The Truth Behind America's Terrifying Epidemic of Medical Mistakes (Rugged Land, 2004), and Understanding Patient Safety (McGraw-Hill, 2008). He is the chair of the American Board of Internal Medicine. He writes regularly on health care policy, quality, hospitalists and patient safety on his blog, Wachter's World.

Wachter received a medical degree at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and completed aresidency and chief residency in internal medicine at UCSF. He was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at Stanford University, and studied patient safety in England in 2011 as a Fulbright Scholar.

Read a Q&A with Wachter.

More about Robert Wachter


University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine 1983


UCSF Medical Center, Internal Medicine 1986

Selected Research and Publications

  1. Berger MS, Wachter RM, Greysen SR, Lau CY. Changing our culture to advance patient safety. J Neurosurg. 2013 Dec; 119(6):1359-69.
  2. Wachter RM. Observation status for hospitalized patients: a maddening policy begging for revision. JAMA Intern Med. 2013 Nov 25; 173(21):1999-2000.
  3. Auerbach AD, Wachter RM. Focusing on value: this time is different. J Hosp Med. 2013 Sep; 8(9):543-4.
  4. Cowling TE, Cecil EV, Soljak MA, Lee JT, Millett C, Majeed A, Wachter RM, Harris MJ. Access to primary care and visits to emergency departments in England: a cross-sectional, population-based study. PLoS One. 2013; 8(6):e66699.
  5. Shekelle PG, Pronovost PJ, Wachter RM, McDonald KM, Schoelles K, Dy SM, Shojania K, Reston JT, Adams AS, Angood PB, Bates DW, Bickman L, Carayon P, Donaldson L, Duan N, Farley DO, Greenhalgh T, Haughom JL, Lake E, Lilford R, Lohr KN, Meyer GS, Miller MR, Neuhauser DV, Ryan G, Saint S, Shortell SM, Stevens DP, Walshe K. The top patient safety strategies that can be encouraged for adoption now. Ann Intern Med. 2013 Mar 5; 158(5 Pt 2):365-8.
  6. Wachter RM, Pronovost P, Shekelle P. Strategies to improve patient safety: the evidence base matures. Ann Intern Med. 2013 Mar 5; 158(5 Pt 1):350-2.
  7. Rennke S, Nguyen OK, Shoeb MH, Magan Y, Wachter RM, Ranji SR. Hospital-initiated transitional care interventions as a patient safety strategy: a systematic review. Ann Intern Med. 2013 Mar 5; 158(5 Pt 2):433-40.
  8. Wachter RM, Verghese AC. Attending physicians on ward rounds--reply. JAMA. 2013 Jan 23; 309(4):341.
  9. Hwa M, Sharpe BA, Wachter RM. Development and implementation of a balanced scorecard in an academic hospitalist group. J Hosp Med. 2013 Mar; 8(3):148-53.
  10. Graber ML, Wachter RM, Cassel CK. Bringing diagnosis into the quality and safety equations. JAMA. 2012 Sep 26; 308(12):1211-2.
  11. Wachter RM. Disciplining doctors for misconduct: character matters, but so does competence. BMJ Qual Saf. 2012 Dec; 21(12):976-8.
  12. Wachter RM, Verghese A. The attending physician on the wards: finding a new homeostasis. JAMA. 2012 Sep 12; 308(10):977-8.
  13. Lyndon A, Sexton JB, Simpson KR, Rosenstein A, Lee KA, Wachter RM. Predictors of likelihood of speaking up about safety concerns in labour and delivery. BMJ Qual Saf. 2012 Sep; 21(9):791-9.
  14. Wachter RM. Personal accountability in healthcare: searching for the right balance. BMJ Qual Saf. 2013 Feb; 22(2):176-80.
  15. Nelson JR, Wellikson L, Wachter RM. Specialty hospitalists: analyzing an emerging phenomenon. JAMA. 2012 Apr 25; 307(16):1699-700.
  16. Greaves F, Pape UJ, King D, Darzi A, Majeed A, Wachter RM, Millett C. Associations between Internet-based patient ratings and conventional surveys of patient experience in the English NHS: an observational study. BMJ Qual Saf. 2012 Jul; 21(7):600-5.
  17. Laverty AA, Smith PC, Pape UJ, Mears A, Wachter RM, Millett C. High-profile investigations into hospital safety problems in England did not prompt patients to switch providers. Health Aff (Millwood). 2012 Mar; 31(3):593-601.
  18. Greaves F, Pape UJ, King D, Darzi A, Majeed A, Wachter RM, Millett C. Associations between Web-based patient ratings and objective measures of hospital quality. Arch Intern Med. 2012 Mar 12; 172(5):435-6.
  19. Wachter RM, Bell D. Renaissance of hospital generalists. BMJ. 2012; 344:e652.
  20. Wachter RM. Understanding Patient Safety. 2012.

Publications are derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and provided by UCSF Profiles, a service of the Clinical & Translational Science Institute (CTSI) at UCSF. Researchers can make corrections and additions to their publications by logging on to UCSF Profiles.