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Praise for The Digital DoctorJanus is the god of medicine these days, and it is the great strength of Dr Robert Wachter s eloquent new book that it has captured every one of these conflicting emotions, all powerfully felt and intelligently analyzed Most previous authors have chosen sides, either mourning the old or hailing the new Dr Wachter is unusual for his equipoise He is old enough to remember the way things used to work or fail to work , young enough to be reasonably technology friendlyHe is also an exceptionally good, fluent writerThe New York TimesWhile he refuses to play Dr Luddite, Wachter warns that healthcare is going through a difficult, disruptive transition in which positive outcomes are possible but not guaranteed Whatever the capabilities of the enabling technology, humans will still be challenged with working with it effectively to serve human needs In the meantime, there is plenty of room to improve the technology itself to make sure it is helpingthan hurtingForbesAs I read The Digital Doctor Hope, Hype, and Harm at the Dawn of Medicines Computer Age, I found myself feeling nostalgic for medicine before the digital age, even though its challenges sometimes drove me crazy Is computerized medicine really an improvement on the past Or are we at risk of losing the vital bond of the doctor patient relationship Fortunately, the author, a practicing internist, has considered these questions carefully The Digital Doctor makes the case that, despite some serious shortcomings, computerized medicine is here to stay and, in the long run, will improve our health The Wall Street JournalTechnologys multifaceted effect on medicine is illustrated by patients new empowerment to become active participants in their own health care and the potential dangers that arise when computers micromanage clinical decision making Wachter weaves in interviews, portraits, and anecdotes throughout, making this an engaging book that will appeal to both general and specialist audiences Recommended All readers ChoiceThe Digital Doctor is not a Pollyanna ish hyperbole about the promise of the digitalization of medicine, romanticizing how wonderful things were when your doctor was Marcus Welby, or a dire prediction about how computerization will eliminate the need for a doctor altogether It is quite simply an excellent book written with intelligence and balance for both the general public and health care practitioners The New York Journal of Books Robert Wachter, voted the most influential physician in the US by Modern Healthcare magazine, sums the optimism and frustration with the electronic health record EHR in The Digital Doctorwhich stands to be a classic The reformers may have asked too much, too soon of electronic health records, which may deliver too little, too late Time will tell, of course, and in twenty years either the tinkerer or the central planner will have the satisfaction of I told you so But both will applaud Wachters tomeThe Healthcare BlogThe Digital Doctor is the eye opening, well told, and frustrating story of how computerization is pulling medicine apart with only a vague promise of putting it back together again I kept muttering, Exactly while reading it, and that is a measure of Wachters accomplishment in telling the tale This is the real story of what its like to practice medicine in the midst of a painful, historic, and often dangerous transitionAtul Gawande, author of Being Mortal and The Checklist ManifestoAs scientific breakthroughs and information technology transform the practice of medicine, there is a crying need for explication, for an eyewitness who can go from the trenches to the observation booth Wachter is one of the few people with the insight, credibility, and investigative skills to do just this The Digital Doctor is first of all a personal journey, as Wachter travels the country, meets with key players who are shaping our future, and wrestles with their views His 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 brilliantAbraham Verghese MD, MACP, FRCP Edin , author of Cutting for Stone, and Linda R Meier and Joan F Lane Provostial Professor and Vice Chair for the Theory and Practice of Medicine, Stanford University School of MedicineA much needed study of the moment in technological change we dont want to see the in between moment where technology is making things worse because we just assumed that adding it would make things better Wachter maintains his enthusiasm for the long view, but helps the reader see that getting there requires understanding of medicine and technology and, most of all, people and their needs It needs thinking and caring the hope for a magic bullet got in our way Wachter deserves our gratitude for his clarity of vision and our support so that his views can become influential in policy circlesSherry Turkle, Professor, MIT, and author of Alone TogetherOne of the best books I ve ever read Wachters warm humor and deep insights kept me turning the pages without interruption To make our healthcare system work, we need new models of care and new ways of managing our technology The Digital Doctor brings us much closer to making this happen, which is why I finished the book faroptimistic than I was when I began it It is a must read for everyonepatients, clinicians, technology designers, and policymakersMaureen Bisognano, President and CEO, Institute for Healthcare Improvement IHI I ve long admired Bob Wachter for his skill and acumen as a physician and as a leader in the field of patient safety and healthcare quality, but this book has made me appreciate him in a new light In The Digital Doctor, Wachter is our indispensable guide through the computerization of medicine the rich history, forces that impede progress, and the potential for today s technology innovations to transform every aspect of healthcare Read this book and you will see the future of medicineMarc Benioff, Chairman and CEO, SalesforceBob Wachter takes the reader on a fascinating journey of discovery through medicines nascent digital world He shows us that its not just the technology but how we manage it that will determine whether the computerization of medicine will be for good or for ill And he reminds us that the promise of technology in healthcare will only be realized if it augments, but does not replace, the human touchCaptain Chesley Sully Sullenberger, speaker, consultant, pilot of US AirwaysMiracle on the Hudson, and author of Highest Duty and Making a DifferenceWith vivid stories and sharp analysis, Wachter exposes the good, the bad, and the ugly of electronic health records and all things electronic in the complex settings of hospitals, physician offices, and pharmacies Everyone will learn from Wachters intelligent assessment, and become a believer that despite todays glitches and frustrations the future computer age will make medicine much better for us allEzekiel J Emanuel, MD PhD Vice Provost for Global Initiatives and Chair, Departments of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, University of PennsylvaniaIn Bob Wachter, I recognize a fellow mindful optimist someone who understands the immense power of digital technologies, yet also realizes just how hard it is to incorporate them into complicated, high stakes environments full of people who don t like being told what to do by a computer Read this important book to see what changes are ahead in healthcare, and why they re so necessaryAndrew McAfee, cofounder of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, and coauthor of The Second Machine AgeAn engaging, accessible, and terribly important book by one of our finest medical writers The electronic health record is not only the most disruptive innovation in the history of healthcare, it will also prove to be transformative In his inimitable mix of conversation, reporting, and insightful analysis, Bob Wachter explains to you why A must read for healthcare professionals and the public alikeLucian Leape, MD, Professor, Harvard School of Public Health and Chair, Lucian Leape Institute of the National Patient Safety FoundationThis is the book that truly defines today s epoch of technological transformation in healthcare Wachter tells a gripping tale about the personalities and politics behind healthcares digital revolution With a sweeping view that takes us from the grand political battles in Washington to the subtle changes in the interactions between people when a computer enters the picture, Wachter offers surprising, often shocking insights into how technology changes the daily lives of clinicians and patients sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worseLeah Binder, MA, MGA, President and CEO, The Leapfrog GroupIn this brilliant and compelling book, Wachter provides us a view from the balcony of the last decade of healthcare information technology As one of the players, Im amazed by the way hes captured the characters, the plot subtleties, and the triumphs and tragedies of the work weve done The book is the definitive chronicle of our modern efforts to wire our healthcare systemJohn Halamka, MD, Chief Information Officer, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Professor of Emergency Medicine, Harvard Medical SchoolWachter not only has unmatched insider knowledge of healthcare but he deeply understands technology as well This breadth allows him to prescribe common sense solutions to the problems emerging from the inevitable marriage between the fields, which he reveals as atroubled union than many suspect The Digital Doctor not only enlightens and awakens, but it is a delight to read rare for such an important bookSteven Levy, author of Hackers and In the PlexA fascinating and insightful look at the digital transformation of healthcare Thoroughly researched and brought to life by dozens of stories and interviews with practicing clinicians, Wachter plots a realistic roadmap to navigate the obstacles ahead, without the hype that frequently accompanies digital health solutions Its an essential read for anyone involved in our health care system from everyday providers in exam rooms to politicians and policy makers who shape our health care systemKevin Pho, MD, founder and editor, KevinMD, p In a style that combines the best of storytelling, historical inquiry, and investigative reporting, Wachter takes us on the journey of how healthcare information technology is transforming healthcare, highlighting the risks along the way as well as the powerful future state we might achieveTejal Gandhi, MD, MPH, CPPS, President and CEO, National Patient Safety FoundationThis is a brilliant book funny, informative, well written, and accessible Wachter takes a very complicated subject and makes it understandable, giving new perspectives and insights whether you are yourself an EHR user or you are a patient who has watched your doctor struggle to use one Given how rapidly EHRs have moved into health care, all of us need to understand how technology changes medicine, and, evenimportantly, how it doesn tRichard Baron, MD President and CEO, American Board of Internal MedicineRobert Wachter is Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco Author ofarticles, he coined the term hospitalist inand is generally considered the father of the hospitalist field, the fastest growing specialty in the history of modern medicine He is past president of the Society of Hospital Medicine, past chair of the American Board of Internal Medicine, and a recipient of the Eisenberg Award, the nations top honor in patient safety For every year beginning , Modern Healthcare magazine has named him one of themost influential physician executives in the US he wason the list inHe has been profiled in the New York Times and contributes regularly to the Wall Street Journal The Digital Doctor is his sixth book


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