Fewer cowboys, more pit crews

Atul Gawande, in his commencement address at Harvard Medical School, talked about needing more pit crews and fewer cowboys in hospitals. It’s a great analogy for the medical field, but it also fits most anywhere else.

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.

Amazing talent, coming together to provide an actual system of care (and development) from start to finish. Sound like a good prescription for a student affairs department?

(link via kottke.org)

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Fewer cowboys, more pit crews

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