Thursday, September 29, 2011

Read This Now - Moving Medicine Forward

This isn't the first time I've told you to go read something from Atul Gawande and it certainly won't be the last (I'm pretty sure I'm on the record somewhere saying that everyone should read everything he writes).

This particular nugget was his commencement address at Harvard Med School this spring covering why medicine needs to look to pit crews...

We’re all specialists now—even primary-care doctors. A structure that prioritizes the independence of all those specialists will have enormous difficulty achieving great care.
We don’t have to look far for evidence. Two million patients pick up infections in American hospitals, most because someone didn’t follow basic antiseptic precautions. Forty per cent of coronary-disease patients and sixty per cent of asthma patients receive incomplete or inappropriate care. And half of major surgical complications are avoidable with existing knowledge. It’s like no one’s in charge—because no one is. The public’s experience is that we have amazing clinicians and technologies but little consistent sense that they come together to provide an actual system of care, from start to finish, for people. We train, hire, and pay doctors to be cowboys. But it’s pit crews people need.
Gawande also hits on how health care costs are adversely affecting our education system and the necessary skills they don't cover in med school.  

Go read the whole thing, it won't take you too long and you'll be glad that you did.

Gawande is also on twitter now (see that note above about reading everything he writes)

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