Gawande’s Keynote

“We have to know what we mean by great care, measure it, innovate it and then implement it,” author of The Checklist Manifesto and surgeon Atul Gawande said.

In the beginning of his keynote, Gawande said that cost has put the American health care system in the greatest crisis of its existence. Yet, Gawande didn’t talk much about cost the rest of his speech. He suggested that the health care system first needs to define exactly what quality care is before moving onto a discussion about cost.

Creating innovations around data is one way he suggested that the health care system can start to recognizes its weaknesses.

“We know more about how the crops are doing and how the cows are doing than we know about how the human beings are doing.”

After innovation comes implementation and that’s where physicians will resist change, Gawande said. Doctors are too used to doing it on their own, acting as cowboys. But things have gotten too complicated in the world of modern medicine.

“The accumulation of knowledge in science is more than anyone of us can handle anymore,” he said.

The system needs encourage physicians to transition from one-man shows to a members of a pit crew.

Gawande ended saying that in the political world, we think we need to fix all of our problems in two years. Gawande said that we have longer than that. But we need to get going on bending the cost curve now.

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