Robert Wachter, MD

Chief of Hospital Medicine
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.

Academic Title

Chair, Department of Medicine

More about Robert Wachter


University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine 1983


UCSF Medical Center, Internal Medicine 1986

Selected Research and Publications

  1. Wachter RM, Gupta K.. Understanding Patient Safety, 3rd Edition. 2018.
  2. Patel H, Fang MC, Mourad M, Green A, Wachter RM, Murphy RD, Harrison JD. Hospitalist and Internal Medicine Leaders' Perspectives of Early Discharge Challenges at Academic Medical Centers. J Hosp Med. 2017 Dec 06.
  3. Sarkar U, McDonald K, Motala A, Smith P, Zipperer L, Wachter RM, Shanman R, Shekelle PG. Pragmatic Insights on Patient Safety Priorities and Intervention Strategies in Ambulatory Settings. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2017 Dec; 43(12):661-670.
  4. Uphaus T, Grings A, Gröschel S, Müller A, Weber-Krüger M, Wachter R, Gröschel K. Automatic detection of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation in patients with ischaemic stroke: better than routine diagnostic workup? Eur J Neurol. 2017 07; 24(7):990-994.
  5. Armstrong K, Anderson ME, Carethers JM, Loscalzo J, Parmacek MS, Wachter RM, Zeidel ML. International Exchange and American Medicine. N Engl J Med. 2017 May 11; 376(19):e40.
  6. Gupta R, Moriates C, Harrison JD, Valencia V, Ong M, Clarke R, Steers N, Hays RD, Braddock CH, Wachter R. Development of a high-value care culture survey: a modified Delphi process and psychometric evaluation. BMJ Qual Saf. 2017 Jun; 26(6):475-483.
  7. Pannick S, Wachter RM, Vincent C, Sevdalis N. Rethinking medical ward quality. BMJ. 2016 Oct 18; 355:i5417.
  8. Wachter RM. Measurement, Certification, and Quality: Meeting Enduring Challenges with Modern Tools. Ophthalmology. 2016 09; 123(9 Suppl):S46-9.
  9. Schoenfeld AJ, Wachter RM. The Search for Better Patient Handoff Tools. JAMA Intern Med. 2016 Sep 01; 176(9):1402-3.
  10. Wachter RM, Goldman L. Zero to 50,000 - The 20th Anniversary of the Hospitalist. N Engl J Med. 2016 Sep 15; 375(11):1009-11.
  11. Wachter RM. Web Exclusives. Annals for Hospitalists Inpatient Notes - Hospitalists and Digital Medicine-Overcoming the Productivity Paradox. Ann Intern Med. 2016 07 19; 165(2):HO2-3.
  12. Gupta K, Wachter RM, Kachalia A. Financial incentives and mortality: taking pay for performance a step too far. BMJ Qual Saf. 2017 Feb; 26(2):164-168.
  13. Young JQ, Wachter RM, Ten Cate O, O'Sullivan PS, Irby DM. Advancing the next generation of handover research and practice with cognitive load theory. BMJ Qual Saf. 2016 Feb; 25(2):66-70.
  14. Khanna RR, Wachter RM, Blum M. Reimagining Electronic Clinical Communication in the Post-Pager, Smartphone Era. JAMA. 2016 Jan 05; 315(1):21-2.
  15. Murray SG, Wachter RM, Cho KC, Dhaliwal G. CLINICAL PROBLEM-SOLVING. A Breakthrough Diagnosis. N Engl J Med. 2015 Nov 05; 373(19):1865-70.
  16. 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; 175(8):1288-98.
  17. Wachter RM. Hospital medicine in 2015: Remarkable successes and a crucial crossroads. J Hosp Med. 2015 Dec; 10(12):830-1.
  18. Wachter RM, Kerbel RB, Aung KK. Interview of Robert M. Wachter, MD. Healthc (Amst). 2015 Jun; 3(2):114-5.
  19. Wachter R, Wehrwein P. A Conversation With Robert Wachter, MD. Reality Bytes: Medicine's Bumpy Ride Into the Digital Age. Manag Care. 2015 May; 24(5):33-5.
  20. Wachter RM. The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype, and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine's Computer Age. 2015.

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.