Crowdsourcing Medicine in the Digital Age, with Bob Wachter, MD

Bob and Ted (click to enlarge) View on

I got to spend time yesterday with one of the “other” social media physicians, Bob Wachter, MD (@Bob_Wachter) as he crowdsources his upcoming book, tentatively titled: “Disrupted: Hope, Hype and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Digital Age.” – see: Crowdsourcing My New Book on How Computerization is Changing the Practice of Medicine in Surprising Ways | Wachter’s World for more.

I think I’ve known Bob since circa 2008 when we discovered that each other knew what a blog was and how to use it 🙂 . Bob is a bit unique in this sense in that there are not many physicians at his level of accomplishment using social media for this duration and this level of authenticity (see: Bob’s Biases | Wachter’s World). And it is true, he did coin the word “hospitalist.”

With all of this in mind, it was relatively easy to give the tour of the Center for Total Health (@KPTotalHealth) and then have a conversation about health information technology, what’s working, where things are going, what’s happening at Kaiser Permanente. I think I’m not supposed to quote everything we said here, to preserve journalistic integrity. Hat’s off / +1 / name your celebration for someone like Bob, who is crowdsourcing this work as it’s being produced. It’s definitely not the norm for authors like him. I do it for presentations whose topics are new to me (see: Crowdsource Request: Being a transgender ally and unconscious bias | Ted Eytan, MD), but really, every blog post is a crowdsource, of me, based on the feedback I get. I can tell Bob works the same way.

I will, though, pull one quote from my archives that might be useful here. It’s from this post in 2011: Now Reading: A Fortunate Man: The Story of a Country Doctor, by John Berger | Ted Eytan, MD – a book that was recommended to me… as a comment on this blog:

It may be that computers will soon diagnose better than doctors. But the facts fed to computers will still have to be the result of intimate, individual recognition of the patient.

That was written in 1966. Yes, 1966.

Two other pieces of work I recommended are:

On the above, no I am not living in the past, believe me. Jack’s leadership approach is very current and continues to guide me, and to live in the future as maybe some of us do requires that we understand where we came from. Sometimes there’s no other precedent around us.

Oh, and don’t forget, health information technology has a role to play in a healthy environment that has less carbon, but only if you do it right : #greenhealthcare part 4: Health Information Technology helps health care be green | Ted Eytan, MD

Bob is super thoughtful, curious, humble, waaaay smarter than he lets on, and open as a leader. That combined with the relationships he’s established in his work is going to make for an informative piece when it’s published. I asked him if he’s capturing his journalistic moments visually on his journey. He said he’s not. I suggest he start….

Ted Eytan, MD