The Evolution of Patient Safety: An Interview with Bob Wachter, MDOn Dec 11, 2012
Named by Modern Healthcare magazine as one of the 50 most influential physician-executives in the US for each of the past five years, Dr. Bob Wachter is well known in the patient safety field for his writing and research. In this interview he discusses diagnostic error, patient engagement, and the evolution of the field.
Robert M. Wachter, MD, is well known in the patient safety field as the author of Understanding Patient Safety (2008, 2012), a comprehensive book geared to all levels of health care providers, and Wachter’s World, a popular health blog. A recipient of the John M. Eisenberg Award (2004), the country’s top honor in patient safety, Dr. Wachter has also been named by Modern Healthcare magazine as one of the 50 most influential physician-executives in the US for each of the past five years, the only academic physician with this distinction.
In 2011, as a Fulbright scholar, Dr. Wachter studied patient safety and hospital medicine at Imperial College London. In the course of his clinical and academic career, he has authored 6 books and more than 250 articles. He also serves as editor of the US federal government’s two leading websites on safety: AHRQ’s PSNet and Web M&M.
Earlier this year, Dr. Wachter became chair of the American Board of Internal Medicine. He coined the term “hospitalist” in 1996 and is a past president of the Society of Hospital Medicine. He is also professor and associate chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, where he directs the Division of Hospital Medicine.
Patient Safety InSight recently talked with Dr. Wachter about the evolution of patient safety, the issue of diagnostic error, and related matters. This interview has been edited and condensed.