The Digital Doctor Will See You Now

Bob Wachter

After writing The Digital Doctor, a book about the benefits and shortcomings of computers in the healthcare industry, Dr Bob Wachter must now put his ideas to the test as he reviews the state of digital health within the NHS.

In 2013, teenager Pablo Garcia was prescribed and given a dose of medication 38 times higher than it should have been. It was a chilling event, and it inspired Dr Robert Wachter to examine why problems such as this can still exist in the age of computerised healthcare. It may at first seem implausible that a mistake this obvious could have made it all the way through the medical system without being flagged, but as a physician, Wachter says the problem is the exact opposite. Doctors and pharmacists receive an overwhelming amount of alerts every day, and are unable to address each one individually. According to Wachter, instances like that of Pablo Garcia are the result of an imperfect system, and in particular a system that has not yet incorporated computers in the most effective ways possible.

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