Clinical Focus

  • Internal Medicine
  • Medical Education
  • Bedside Exam
  • The Patient-Physician relationship
  • Medical Errors
  • Story and Ritual of Medicine

Academic Appointments

Administrative Appointments

  • Faculty, Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics (2009 - Present)
  • Adjunct Faculty, Freeman Spogli Institute: Stanford Health Policy (2010 - Present)
  • Clerkship Director, Stanford University, Department of Medicine (2007 - Present)
  • Vice Chair for the Theory & Practice of Medicine, Stanford University, Department of Medicine (2007 - Present)

Honors & Awards

  • Doctor of Science (Hon), Swarthmore College (2001)
  • Doctor of Humane Letters (Hon), University of Northern Illinois (2007)
  • John P. McGovern Medal, Osler Society, Montreal (2007)
  • Master, American College of Physicians (2005)
  • Member, Association of American Physicians, Association of American Physicians (2006)
  • Member, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences (2011)
  • Doctor of Humane Letters (Hon), Upstate Medical University, SUNY Syracuse (2012)
  • The Heinz Award in Humanities, The Heinz Foundation (2014)
  • Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh, Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh (2014)
  • Honorary Doctorate, Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland (2014)

Professional Education

  • Residency:East Tennessee State University Medicine (1983) TN
  • Medical Education:Madras University Medicine (1980) India
  • Master of Fine Arts, The University of Iowa, Fiction (1991)
  • Board Certification: Pulmonary Disease, American Board of Internal Medicine (1988)
  • Board Certification: Infectious Disease, American Board of Internal Medicine (1986)
  • Fellow in Infectious Diseases, Boston Univ School of Medicine, Infectious Diseases (1985)
  • Board Certification: Internal Medicine, American Board of Internal Medicine (1983)

Research & Scholarship

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

My interest is in clinical skills and the bedside exam, both in its technical aspects, but also in the importance of the ritual and what is conveyed by the physician's presence and technique at the bedside. This work interests me from an educational point of view, and also from the point of view of ethnographic studies related to rituals and how they transform the patient-physician relationship. Recently we have become interested in medical error as a result of oversights in the bedside exam.



All Publications

  • Inadequacies of Physical Examination as a Cause of Medical Errors and Adverse Events: A Collection of Vignettes AMERICAN JOURNAL OF MEDICINE Verghese, A., Charlton, B., Kassirer, J. P., Ramsey, M., Ioannidis, J. P. 2015; 128 (12): 1322-?
  • Clinical education and the electronic health record: the flipped patient. JAMA Chi, J., Verghese, A. 2014; 312 (22): 2331-2332

    View details for DOI 10.1001/jama.2014.12820

    View details for PubMedID 25490318

  • Improving communication with patients: learning by doing. JAMA-the journal of the American Medical Association Chi, J., Verghese, A. 2013; 310 (21): 2257-2258

    View details for DOI 10.1001/jama.2013.281828

    View details for PubMedID 24302087

  • A piece of my mind. The road back to the bedside. JAMA-the journal of the American Medical Association Elder, A., Chi, J., Ozdalga, E., Kugler, J., Verghese, A. 2013; 310 (8): 799-800

    View details for DOI 10.1001/jama.2013.227195

    View details for PubMedID 23982364

  • The Attending Physician on the Wards Finding a New Homeostasis JAMA-JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION Wachter, R. M., Verghese, A. 2012; 308 (10): 977-978

    View details for Web of Science ID 000308579300017

    View details for PubMedID 22968883

  • The Bedside Evaluation: Ritual and Reason ANNALS OF INTERNAL MEDICINE Verghese, A., Brady, E., Kapur, C. C., Horwitz, R. I. 2011; 155 (8): 550-U125


    The bedside evaluation, consisting of the history and physical examination, was once the primary means of diagnosis and clinical monitoring. The recent explosion of imaging and laboratory testing has inverted the diagnostic paradigm. Physicians often bypass the bedside evaluation for immediate testing and therefore encounter an image of the patient before seeing the patient in the flesh. In addition to risking delayed or missed diagnosis of readily recognizable disease, physicians who forgo or circumvent the bedside evaluation risk the loss of an important ritual that can enhance the physician-patient relationship. Patients expect that some form of bedside evaluation will take place when they visit a physician. When physicians complete this evaluation in an expert manner, it can have a salutary effect. If done poorly or not at all, in contrast, it can undermine the physician-patient relationship. Studies suggest that the context, locale, and quality of the bedside evaluation are associated with neurobiological changes in the patient. Recognizing the importance of the bedside evaluation as a healing ritual and a powerful diagnostic tool when paired with judicious use of technology could be a stimulus for the recovery of an ebbing skill set among physicians.

    View details for DOI 10.1059/0003-4819-155-8-201110180-00013

    View details for Web of Science ID 000296066300022

    View details for PubMedID 22007047

  • Internal Medicine Residency Redesign: Proposal of the Internal Medicine Working Group AMERICAN JOURNAL OF MEDICINE Horwitz, R. I., Kassirer, J. P., Holmboe, E. S., Humphrey, H. J., Verghese, A., Croft, C., Kwok, M., Loscalzo, J. 2011; 124 (9): 806-812


    Concerned with the quality of internal medicine training, many leaders in the field assembled to assess the state of the residency, evaluate the decline in interest in the specialty, and create a framework for invigorating the discipline. Although many external factors are responsible, we also found ourselves culpable: allowing senior role models to opt out of important training activities, ignoring a progressive atrophy of bedside skills, and focusing on lock-step curricula, lectures, and compiled diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. The group affirmed its commitment to a vision of internal medicine rooted in science and learned with mentors at the bedside. Key factors for new emphasis include patient-centered small group teaching, greater incorporation of clinical epidemiology and health services research, and better schedule control for trainees. Because previous proposals were weakened by lack of evidence, we propose to organize the Cooperative Educational Studies Group, a pool of training programs that will collect a common data set describing their programs, design interventions to be tested rigorously in multi-methodological approaches, and at the same time produce knowledge about high-quality practice.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.amjmed.2011.03.007

    View details for Web of Science ID 000294043100019

    View details for PubMedID 21854887

  • The Physical Exam and Other Forms of Fiction J Gen Intern Med Kugler J, Verghese A 2010
  • Cutting for Stone A novel published by Vintage Books Edition, NY Verghese A 2010
  • Cutting for Stone A novel published by Alfred P. Knopf, NY Verghese A 2009
  • A touch of sense "Health Affairs Verghese A 2009; 24 (8): 1177-82
  • In Praise of the Physical Examination British Medical Journal Verghese A, Horwitz RI 2009; 339: 5448
  • Learning bedside medicine. The virtual mentor : VM Kugler, J., Verghese, A. 2009; 11 (11): 900-903
  • My Own Country: A Doctor's Story of a Town and Its People in the Age of AIDS Simon & Schuster, New York, NY 1994. Verghese A
  • The Tennis Partner: A Doctor's Story of Friendship and Loss 1998 Aug. (Harper Collins in the USA, Vintage in the UK, Penguin in India). 1999 Oct Paperback version (by Harper Perennial in the USA and Vintage in UK) Verghese A
  • Caring for Ivan Ilyich J Gen Intern Med Charlton B, Verghese A 2010; 25 (1): 93-5
  • Culture Shock: The Patient as Icon, Icon as Patient New England Journal of Medicine Verghese A 2008; 359 (26): 2748-51
  • The Calling New England Journal of Medicine Verghese A 2005; 352 (18): 1844-7