Medical Errors Expert Ranks Among Top 50 Most Influential Doctors

By Lisa Cisneros on July 25, 2005

Robert Wachter

Robert M. Wachter, MD, professor and associate chair of the Department of Medicine at UCSF, was named among the top 50 most influential physician-executives by Modern Physician magazine. The results are posted online here. The "50 Most Influential Physician-Executives List" is produced yearly by Modern Physician magazine. Wachter is one of only a handful of academic faculty physicians on this year's list. Most of the others are leaders of large health systems, health insurers, philanthropies and federal agencies. Julie Gerberding, director of the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention and UCSF faculty member, was ranked No. 5. Wachter, chief of the medical service and co-chair of the patient safety committee at UCSF Medical Center, is widely recognized for his pioneering work that launched the hospitalist specialty and for his in depth reporting on medical mistakes. He co-wrote "Internal Bleeding: The Truth Behind America's Terrifying Epidemic of Medical Mistakes," which exposes the many errors doctors and nurses make that kill nearly 100,000 patients every year in the US. The book has been on bestseller lists, and Wachter has received national attention, including appearing on Good Morning America, the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Imus in the Morning and CNN American Morning, to discuss patient safety. Wachter is editor of two leading federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) patient safety web portals, AHRQ Patient Safety Network and AHRQ WebM&M. The former provides a national"one-stop" portal of resources for improving patient safety and preventing medical errors. PSNet is the latest patient safety improvement endeavor by AHRQ, which leads the federal government's effort to improve patient safety and reduce medical errors. The latter hosts cases, commentaries and perspectives about patient safety. Both websites receive about 1,000 unique visitors every day. Based on the strength of these efforts, Wachter last year received one of the John M. Eisenberg Awards, the nation's top honor for contributions to the field of patient safety. He was elected to the Board of Directors of the American Board of Internal Medicine in 2005. Wachter was interviewed recently by Jeff Miller, director of University Publications, on his efforts to protect patients in the August 2004 issue of UCSF Magazine. Read the story here. Wachter also served as the first elected President of the Society of Hospital Medicine, the fastest growing physician professional society in the US. He has published more than 150 articles and three books in the areas of clinical epidemiology, health policy and economics, medical education and ethics. His 1996 New England Journal of Medicine article titled "The Emerging Role of Hospitalists in the American Health Care System," written with Lee Goldman, chair of the Department of Medicine at UCSF, coined the term "hospitalist" and defined the new specialty. Wacther edits the field's leading textbook, Hospital Medicine, and directs UCSF's 20-member hospitalist program, generally considered the top academic program in the United States.

Related Links

UCSF Division of Hospitalist Medicine