Really? The American public and especially Congress—supposedly well-read in healthcare issues—doesn't know where Berwick stands or what he proposes to do? This man has written volumes and given countless speeches outlining what he thinks the United States should do. He has built a foundation that transforms those thoughts into action, helping hospitals deliver higher-quality and lower-cost care. He's thoughtful, smart and…most worrisome to the status quo, honest. He is willing to put the unpopular positions forward for discussion. He's right—the waste in healthcare is astounding, full of non-value added activities that sap the strength from our country.
And yes, he does want to reform healthcare because it's broken and needs to be reformed. Our quality compared to other developed nations is slipping. Our system is fragmented, much too expensive, burdened with extraneous care of dubious usefulness, and often inaccessible. We can do better. Why wouldn't we borrow lessons from other countries where care is better and costs are lower? I think Berwick can help remove the blinders of arrogance that keep us from objectively analyzing results, both good and bad, from other countries. This also involves compiling the ideas that work, adapting them for our purposes, and ultimately improving healthcare for all Americans.
Healthcare reform is too complex and too critical, and the problems Berwick—and all of us—are facing are too important to be relegated to a “He wants death panels!” Twitter post. We all deserve better.
Director of knowledge managementHMCNeedham, Mass.