April 8, 2013

Dr. Verghese was invited to speak at the TED Global in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2011. He spoke about the importance of the physical exam and how we physicians are in danger of losing the connection with our patients as we focus more on technology and the electronic medical record. To date, the video on the main TED website as been watch over a million times! Click here to be taken directly to Dr. Verghese’s lecture on TED.com. Below is a link to the video also posted on YouTube.

Here we check in with Dr. Verghese and ask him a few questions about his TED Talk:

Question: How was the experience of lecturing at TED Global?
Answer: Fabulous. I confess I knew little about TED till I was asked to do it, but now find myself looking at talks that interest me. My son Tristan and I watch things together.

Question: In the year and a half since you did the lecture, do you feel that the value that physicians put on the physical exam has improved?
Answer: I really don’t know. I do think the message about us as physicians not missing the ‘low-hanging fruit’ is getting out there. As you know, I now have low-hanging fruit decorating my office. It is a great conversation piece, a metaphor. You can see a picture here.

(Image Credit: Pornprang Plangsrisakul)

Question: What is your favorite TED talk?
Answer: So many. I better not select one to single out.

Question: What message do you think is most important for your patients to hear?
Answer: I think patients would be a bit scandalized if they knew that in America we don’t ever directly observer our trainees at the bedside or make sure they can find clear-cut abnormalities that doctors have been trained to see and touch and discover for over a hundred years. I think patients appreciate that we care about these things at Stanford and are investing a lot of effort and energy in this.

And be sure to check out Dr. Verghese's talk about the history of Stanford Medicine 25 at the 2015 Symposium below.

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