Bob’s Bookings

I enjoy public speaking and give about 50 talks each year around the country, and the world. These have included lectures and visiting professorships at major academic centers (including Johns Hopkins, Harvard, Yale, Penn, Michigan, Mayo and Cleveland Clinics, and many more), keynote lectures for many hospitals and health systems (including Kaiser, HCA, Adventist, and Triad and scores of health system and hospital boards), keynote lectures to dozens of city or statewide safety coalitions, and a yearly keynote talk at the Society of Hospital Medicine’s annual meeting.

My talks tend to be engaging, provocative and, on a good day, humorous. My most popular topics/talks are:

1) “The Value Agenda: Why Quality, Safety, and Patient Satisfaction are No Longer Elective.” This talk highlights the major changes driven by the Affordable Care Act and other national initiatives that have transformed quality, safety and patient satisfaction from ethical imperatives into business ones. It is an engaging, accessible, and optimistic way to educate physicians, board members, and others about the new healthcare landscape.

2) “What We Need to Know and Do to Cure our Epidemic of Medical Mistakes.” A case-based, dramatic talk that describes a new way to think about medical errors. The talk is suitable for novices, experts, and even lay audiences.

Related reading:  Wachter RM, Shojania KG. Internal Bleeding: The Truth Behind America’s Terrifying Epidemic of Medical Mistakes. New York: Rugged Land, 2004.

Wachter RM. Understanding Patient Safety, 2nd Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012.

3) “The Patient Safety Field Matures: Reflections on a Decade of Surprises, Successes, Failures, and Epiphanies.” A more policy-oriented talk than #1, and more appropriate for advanced audiences (leaders in quality and safety, for example). I analyze some of the most interesting trends and developments in the safety field, including the pace of chance, the dominant role of culture, the challenges of measurement, the problems with healthcare IT, and the need to balance “no blame” and accountability.

Related reading:  Wachter RM. Patient safety at ten: Unmistakable progress, troubling gapsHealth Affairs 2010;29:165-73.

Wachter RM, Pronovost PJ. Balancing ‘no blame” and accountability in patient safety. N Engl J Med 2009; 361:1401-6.

4)  “Use Your Words: Understanding the New Vocabulary of Healthcare Reform.” The debate over healthcare reform introduced many new terms: “comparative effectiveness”, “bundling”, “Accountable Care Organizations”, “Death Panels”, and more.  In this talk, I help audiences make sense of these concepts, and, more importantly, what they mean in the larger context of our healthcare delivery system.

Related reading: Wachter RM. Understanding the new vocabulary of healthcare reform. J Hosp Med 2010; 5:197-9.

5) “Consequences (Expected and Otherwise) of the Quality and Information Technology Revolutions.” The talk is a slightly contrarian view of these trends, two of the most dominant issues facing health care today. Audiences leave this talk thinking about these topics in a new, fresh way.

Related reading: Wachter RM. Expected and unanticipated consequences of the quality and information technology revolutions. JAMA 2006; 295:2780-3.

6) “The Hospitalist Movement in 2013:  Key Issues as the Field Turns 15.” I coined the term “hospitalist” in 1996. In this talk, I cover the forces driving the growth of the field, the fastest growing specialty in the history of modern medicine, and what the next decade has in store.

Related readings:
•    Wachter RM, Goldman L. The emerging role of “hospitalists” in the American health care system. N Engl J Med 1996; 335:514-7.
•    Wachter RM. Hospitalists in the United States: Mission accomplished or work-in-progress? N Engl J Med 2004; 350:1935-6.
•    Wachter RM. The hospitalist field turns 15: New opportunities and challenges. J Hosp Med 2011; 6:E1-E4.

I am happy to accept individual speaking inquiries by email. I am also “handled” by several excellent speakers bureaus; they can help with arrangements: Eagles Talent, Speakers Platform, Washington Speakers Bureau, and Promenade Speakers Bureau.