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My Interview with Health IT Leader John Halamka

Of the nearly 100 people I interviewed for my upcoming book, John Halmaka was one of the most fascinating. Halamka is CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and a national leader in health IT policy. He also runs a family farm, on which he raises ducks, alpacas and llamas. His penchant for black mock […]

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Meaningful Use. Born, 2009, Died, 2014?

The policy known as Meaningful Use was designed to ensure that clinicians and hospitals actually used the computers they bought with the help of government subsidies. In the last few months, though, it has become clear that the policy is failing. Moreover, the federal office that administers it is losing leaders faster than American Idol […]

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Diagnostic Errors: Central to Patient Safety, Yet Still In the Periphery of Safety’s Radar Screen

In 2008, I gave the keynote address at the first “Diagnostic Errors in Medicine” conference, sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The meeting was filled with people from a wide variety of disciplines, including clinical medicine, education, risk management, cognitive science, and informatics, all passionate about making diagnosis safer. The atmosphere […]

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When I Was In the Final Four

I don’t follow much basketball these days. But the week of the NCAA finals always takes me down memory lane. For I, you see, was in the Final Four, thirty-four years ago. Funny thing is, I am an awful basketball player. My role will come to you if you answer the following trivia question: Who […]

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Denying Reality About Bad Prognoses: Not a Benign Problem

The human capacity to deny reality is one of our defining characteristics. Evolutionarily, it has often served us well, inspiring us to press onward against long odds. Without denial, the American settlers might have aborted their westward trek somewhere around Pittsburgh; Steve Jobs might thrown up his hands after the demise of the Lisa; and […]

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House M.D.

Gregory House, MD, RIP

The final episode of the show House, MD airs on FOX tonite. I wrote the following op-ed piece for USA Today; it’ll appear there tomorrow morning and is reproduced here with permission. Dr. Gregory House hung up his stethoscope and cane for the last time last night and shuffled off into eternal life in the […]

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Important Notice For Email Subscribers To Wachter’s World

Important Notice For Email Subscribers To Wachter’s World

Dear Readers: Later today, Wachter’s World will get a facelift, as we migrate to a new “platform” (don’t ask me what that means but the good folks at Wiley, and your teenage children, will know). This will make the website more stable, give it better graphics, and prevent it from crashing and blocking comments, as […]

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Never Say Never (Events)

Never Say Never (Events)

Earlier this month, the National Quality Forum released its revised list of “Serious Reportable Events in Healthcare, 2011,” with four new events added to the list. While the NQF no longer refers to this list as “Never Events,” it doesn’t really matter, since everyone else does. And this shorthand has helped make this list, which […]

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A Year of Blogging Dangerously

Well, folks, time flies. Today marks the first anniversary of the launch of Wachter’s World. I’ve learned a lot in a year. For example, a year ago, I thought you became a Russia expert by reading books and newspapers, not by trans-waterway osmosis. Anyway, I thought I’d use the occasion of the anniversary to recount […]

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Bob’s Books (and Articles and Websites)

Here are a few of my books: Understanding Patient Safety (McGraw-Hill’s Lange Series, 2008): A lively, up-to-date primer on patient safety, full of case vignettes, tools, and other key resources. 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 […]

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