Atul Gawande says that we’re used to doctors working like “cowboys” – rugged individualists who are responsible for making sure your care gets done right. We don’t need cowboys, he says. We need “pit crews” – teams of doctors working together toward a common goal, with each playing their own role.
It’s an appealing idea. Pit crew-like teams work, and work well, in trauma units across the country.
But there’s a problem: if you haven’t just been airlifted to a hospital after a horrible accident, you’re not going to be treated by a pit crew. You’re going to be on your own, shuffled from one 15-minute specialist visit to the next, likely with no one person in charge of your care.
Dr. Gawande knows this, and he picks a heck of an example of the problem: Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at BestDoctors.com: See First Blog*
Peter Orszag wants doctors to work weekends. The former director of the White House Office of Management and Budget wrote as much in this past weekend’s New York Times:
Doctors, like most people, don’t love to work weekends, and they probably don’t enjoy being evaluated against their peers. But their industry can no longer afford to protect them from the inevitable. Imagine a drugstore open only five days a week, or a television network that didn’t measure its ratings. Improving the quality of health care and reducing its cost will require that doctors make many changes — but working weekends and consenting to quality management are two clear ones.
And he’s right, to a point.
I’ve pointed to studies showing that mortality rises on the weekends, in part due to skeleton staffs that hospitals employ on Saturday and Sunday. And, since Mr. Orszag is an economist, the cost factor is noted. Tests that get pushed off until Monday cost the health system serious dollars. The problem I have is that Mr. Orszag, like most health reformers, offers doctors little incentive in return. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at KevinMD.com*
First, I am a big admirer of Apple CEO Steve Jobs for his thoughtful 2005 Stanford commencement speech, his clarity of vision, and his superb skills as a leader. Fortune magazine named him CEO of the decade after turning around the company he founded from near bankruptcy in the late 1990s to becoming the most valued company today. Though I have great respect for him, I haven’t bought an Apple product, ever, until this year.
So I watched with great interest his press conference regarding Antennagate which has consumed technology news with regards to the design of the new iPhone 4 and its new antenna design. Apparently this makes the smartphone vulnerable to dropping phone calls when held a certain way, known as the death grip. If one simply avoided holding the phone that one explicit way, the phone otherwise worked fine. As a result, 22 days after the latest iPhone was available to the public, Jobs and Apple were instead addressing an issue which dwarfed their latest product launch.
Doctors and patients can learn plenty by watching Jobs’ approach to the problem, because the situation he and his team were tackling is similar to what a doctor addresses daily in the office. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Saving Money and Surviving the Healthcare Crisis*