Bob’s Books & More

My Books

The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype, and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age (McGraw-Hill, 2015). This book was published in April, 2015, and has been a New York Times science bestseller. Advance praise included:

Well told and eye opening… I kept muttering, ‘Exactly’! while reading it…
— Atul Gawande, Author of Being Mortal and The Checklist Manifesto

Wachter’s intimate narrative left me entertained, amazed, alarmed at times, but always engrossed as I came to a new understanding of my own profession as it is reshaped by technology. Simply brilliant.
— Abraham Verghese, Professor, Stanford University, and author of Cutting for Stone

One of the best books I’ve ever read. Wachter’s warm humor and deep insights kept me turning the pages without interruption…. A must read for everyone – patients, clinicians, technology designers, and policymakers.
— Maureen Bisognano, President and CEO, Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) 

A much-needed study of the moment in technological change we don’t want to see: the in-between moment where technology is making things worse because we just assumed that “adding it” would make things better.
— Sherry Turkle, Professor, MIT, and author of Alone Together

A fascinating journey of discovery through medicine’s nascent digital world… Wachter reminds us that the promise of technology in healthcare will only be realized if it augments, but does not replace, the human touch.
— Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, Pilot of US Airways 1549, the “Miracle on the Hudson”

Read this book and you will see the future of medicine.
— Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO, Salesforce

My other books are:

Understanding Patient Safety (McGraw-Hill’s Lange Series, 2012): The world’s top selling patient safety textbook – a lively, up-to-date primer on safety, full of case vignettes, tools, thousands of references, and other key resources. The second edition was published in 2012.

Internal Bleeding: The Truth Behind America’s Terrifying Epidemic of Medical Mistakes (“Updated Version”, Rugged Land, 2005): A bestselling book that uses dramatic cases of medical errors to illustrate the key principles of patient safety. Written with Kaveh Shojania.

Hospital Medicine (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2005): A medical textbook for those who care for hospitalized patients. Co-edited by Lee Goldman and Harry Hollander.

Making Health Care Safer: A Critical Analysis of Patient Safety Practices. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, AHRQ Publication No. 01-EO58: The first review of the evidence behind safety practices, it catalyzed future evidence-based safety initiatives such as the National Quality Forum’s list of “Safe Practices.” My co-editors are Kaveh Shojania, Kathy McDonald, and Brad Duncan.

The Fragile Coalition: Science, Politics and AIDS (St. Martin’s Press, 1991): I was the program director of the 1990 International Conference on AIDS, and the book chronicles the conference – part-scientific confab, part-political convention, and part-circus – and what it taught me about the intersection of science and activism.

And my top dozen or so articles:

Wachter RM, Luce JM, Hearst N, Lo B. Decisions about resuscitation: Inequities among patients with different diseases but similar prognoses. Annals of Internal Medicine 1989; 111:525-32.

Wachter RM. AIDS, activism, and the politics of health. New England Journal of Medicine 1992; 326:128-33.

Wachter RM, Goldman L. The emerging role of “hospitalists” in the American health care system. New England Journal of Medicine 1996; 335:514-7.

Wachter RM, Katz P, Showstack J, Bindman AB, Goldman L. Reorganizing an academic medical service:  Impact on cost, quality, patient satisfaction, and education. Journal of the American Medical Association 1998; 279:1560-5.

Wachter RM and Goldman L. The hospitalist movement 5 years later. Journal of the American Medical Association 2002; 282:487-94.

Wachter RM. Hospitalists in the United States: Mission accomplished or work-in-progress. New England Journal of Medicine 2004; 350:1935-6.

Wachter RM. The end of the beginning: Patient safety five years after ‘To Err is Human.Health Affairs, November 30, 2004 (web exclusive).

Wachter RM. The “dis-location” of US medicine: the implications of medical outsourcing. New England Journal of Medicine 2006; 354:662-3.

Wachter RM.  Expected and unanticipated consequences of the quality and information technology revolutions. Journal of the American Medical Association 2006; 295:2780-3.

Pronovost PJ, Miller M, Wachter RM. Tracking progress in patient safety: an elusive target. Journal of the American Medical Association 2006; 296:696-9.

Wachter RM, Pronovost PJ. Balancing ‘no blame’ and accountability in patient safety. New England Journal of Medicine 2009; 361:1401-6.

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

And my websites:

I’m privileged to serve as editor for the federal government’s two leading patient safety websites (together, they receive about one million unique visits a year):

AHRQ WebM&M, a case-based journal featuring lively cases and commentaries on medical mistakes as well as perspective articles and interviews with newsmakers in the field.

AHRQ Patient Safety Network (PSNet), a weekly chronicle of research, news, and tools in patient safety, along with the world’s most robust and searchable patient safety library.

And finally, the website of my wonderful division, UCSF’s Division of Hospital Medicine.