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Dr. Atul Gawande: How do we heal medicine?

Our medical systems are broken. Doctors are capable of extraordinary (and expensive) treatments, but they are losing their core focus: actually treating people. Doctor and writer Atul Gawande suggests we take a step back and look at new ways to do medicine — with fewer cowboys and more pit crews.

Surgeon by day and public health journalist by night, Atul Gawande explores how patient outcomes can be dramatically improved by something as simple as a checklist. After a 19-item, 2-minute surgical safety checklist was introduced at 8 sites worldwide, complication rates fell by 35% in every hospital where the checklist was tested. The death rates fell by 47%.  Yet, implementing a checklist system in healthcare has been slow to take hold says Gawande.

“There’s a deep resistance because using these tools…forces us to behave with a different set of values. Just using a checklist requires [doctors] to embrace different values from the ones we’ve had like, humility, discipline, teamwork. “

In his most recent book, The Checklist Manifesto, Gawande shows how even a simple five-point checklist can decrease up to two-thirds of ICU infections.

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