TED Video and Discussion Series

Date: July 28, 2018
Time: 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM




July 28th



Room N116


Free Admission



Dr. Abraham Verghese

“A Doctor’s Touch”


Our TED talk for Saturday, July 28, is by Dr. Abraham Verghese, entitled “A Doctor’s Touch” in which he argues modern medicine is in danger of losing a powerful, old-fashioned tool: human touch. Dr. Verghese describes our strange new world where patients are merely data points, and calls for a return to the traditional one-on-one physical exam. 

The Stanford University system, known as Stanford Medicine 25, Dr. Verghese was instrumental in starting, and it teaches and promotes bedside exam skills to students, residents and healthcare professionals as Stanford recognizes that there is little emphasis on these physical exam skills in the 3rd and 4th years of medical school or in residency. In the absence of a high-stakes clinical bedside final exam (as opposed to a high-stakes multiple choice exam), there is little impetus for doctors to learn and master bedside skills. Per Stanford, “someone may be board certified in internal medicine or another specialty and no one has really ascertained that their technique in doing an ankle reflex enables them to accurately say a reflex is truly absent — take note, you would be surprised how most 'absent' reflexes become 'present' when you learn good technique.”

More and more health care professionals are trying to do more with less. The number of stories about healthcare providers ordering unnecessary labs, images and other expensive tests are growing. Stanford believes that caring for the patient starts at the bedside with observing, examining and connecting with their patients. This is what the Stanford Medicine 25 teaches and promotes. In observing students and residents perform physical diagnosis maneuvers at the bedside, Stanford observes that though they know the theory, their technique may prevent them from eliciting the sign reliably. I hope you can join us to learn what old time doctors were so aware of and used so effectively and is still needed despite all the great advances in healthcare.


TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, and the TED talks feature experts in a

variety of fields who present unique ways of looking at their respective fields of expertise.


Everyone is welcome to these free sessions.


A discussion will take place after the lecture.




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