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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. Pannick S, Davis R, Ashrafian H, Byrne BE, Beveridge I, Athanasiou T, Wachter RM, Sevdalis N. Effects of Interdisciplinary Team Care Interventions on General Medical Wards: A Systematic Review. JAMA Intern Med. 2015 Aug 1; 175(8):1288-98.
  2. Wachter RM. The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype, and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine's Computer Age. 2015.
  3. Austin JM, Jha AK, Romano PS, Singer SJ, Vogus TJ, Wachter RM, Pronovost PJ. National hospital ratings systems share few common scores and may generate confusion instead of clarity. Health Aff (Millwood). 2015 Mar 1; 34(3):423-30.
  4. Coronini-Cronberg S, Bixby H, Laverty AA, Wachter RM, Millett C. English National Health Service's Savings Plan May Have Helped Reduce The Use Of Three 'Low-Value' Procedures. Health Aff (Millwood). 2015 Mar 1; 34(3):381-9.
  5. McTiernan P, Wachter RM, Meyer GS, Gandhi TK. Patient safety is not elective: a debate at the NPSF Patient Safety Congress. BMJ Qual Saf. 2015 Feb; 24(2):162-6.
  6. Pannick S, Beveridge I, Wachter RM, Sevdalis N. Improving the quality and safety of care on the medical ward: A review and synthesis of the evidence base. Eur J Intern Med. 2014 Dec; 25(10):874-87.
  7. Liao JM, Wachter RM. Grading residents' clinical performance: unique opportunities and challenges. J Gen Intern Med. 2014 Jul; 29(7):983-5.
  8. Moriates C, Mourad M, Novelero M, Wachter RM. Development of a hospital-based program focused on improving healthcare value. J Hosp Med. 2014 Oct; 9(10):671-7.
  9. Wachter RM. Hospitalist workload: the search for the magic number. JAMA Intern Med. 2014 May; 174(5):794-5.
  10. Ranji SR, Rennke S, Wachter RM. Computerised provider order entry combined with clinical decision support systems to improve medication safety: a narrative review. BMJ Qual Saf. 2014 Sep; 23(9):773-80.
  11. Austin JM, D'Andrea G, Birkmeyer JD, Leape LL, Milstein A, Pronovost PJ, Romano PS, Singer SJ, Vogus TJ, Wachter RM. Safety in numbers: the development of Leapfrog's composite patient safety score for U.S. hospitals. J Patient Saf. 2014 Mar; 10(1):64-71.
  12. Dalton AR, Vamos EP, Harris MJ, Netuveli G, Wachter RM, Majeed A, Millett C. Impact of universal health insurance coverage on hypertension management: a cross-national study in the United States and England. PLoS One. 2014; 9(1):e83705.
  13. Driver TH, Katz PP, Trupin L, Wachter RM. Responding to clinicians who fail to follow patient safety practices: perceptions of physicians, nurses, trainees, and patients. J Hosp Med. 2014 Feb; 9(2):99-105.
  14. Berger MS, Wachter RM, Greysen SR, Lau CY. Changing our culture to advance patient safety: the 2013 AANS Presidential Address. J Neurosurg. 2013 Dec; 119(6):1359-69.
  15. Wachter RM. Observation status for hospitalized patients: a maddening policy begging for revision. JAMA Intern Med. 2013 Nov 25; 173(21):1999-2000.
  16. Sehgal NL, Wachter RM, Vidyarthi AR. Bringing continuing medical education to the bedside: the University of California, San Francisco Hospitalist Mini-College. J Hosp Med. 2014 Feb; 9(2):129-34.
  17. Auerbach AD, Wachter RM. Focusing on value: this time is different. J Hosp Med. 2013 Sep; 8(9):543-4.
  18. Pronovost PJ, Wachter RM. Progress in patient safety: a glass fuller than it seems. Am J Med Qual. 2014 Mar-Apr; 29(2):165-9.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.

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.