Posted 3/1/12 on Not Running a Hospital
I remain relatively new to the health care field, but even in that short time, it has become evident to me that the pace of quality and safety enhancements and front-line driven process improvement in hospitals is inadequate given the scale and scope of harm that occurs to patients. Indeed, it can be viewed as a paradox that the doctors of America, a group of dedicated, well-intentioned, intelligent, and highly trained individuals, constitute one of the top-ranked public health hazards in the county when as they work together in the nation’s hospitals. That they collectively have not made much of a dent in the problem of reducing harm is, I believe, a product of their training.
As Brent James, Jay Kaplan, and others have noted, doctors are trained to be artists, to apply their intellect, creativity, intuition, and judgment to the care of each patient. That is well and good when the case is complex, but the vast majority of medical care is not complex. It calls for standardization, adoption of protocols, and scientific experiments of process improvement to modify those protocols to enhance care and reduce harm.