WHAT WERE THE MAJOR MILESTONES IN HEALTHCARE THAT YOU’VE WITNESSED OVER THE COURSE OF YOUR CAREER?
When I started in healthcare in the late 1970s, there was a very traditional model. It was really driven around the needs, schedules and experiences of some very talented caregivers. They were orchestrating the entire experience that people had. A huge change in healthcare is the focus on being patient- and familycentered, on teamwork, and on recognizing that we have to do a better job of achieving value in healthcare, value that is defined as having consistent quality, safety, a strong experience for patients and families at a cost or price point that reflects the value they are getting.
DR. DONALD BERWICK
If you look back over the past couple decades, we’ve made care better in very important ways. We can cure diseases today that when I was in training were uniformly fatal. We can transplant organs. We can do amazing stuff. But we are still shy of where we should be on patient safety, despite the efforts of many places. We’re going to get that one nailed. I know we can do that.
Consumers today have access to more information than they did before, both about their diagnosis and about the choices they have. They are starting to use that to drive decisions in terms of where they go, who they choose as their healthcare providers. At the same time, the Affordable Care Act is impacting the payer market by driving consumers toward having more of that onus on them in terms of the cost.
The Affordable Care Act is driving change that has been necessary for many years in healthcare, and I think it has now engaged the providers to really step up and take a much more proactive role in redesigning care, improving quality, reducing readmissions and waste in the system.