Jim Hall‘s op-ed piece, “First, Make No Mistakes,” in today’s New York Times makes a great case that, no matter what happens with health-care reform, the medical industry can do a better job of learning from its mistakes. Such learning would save many lives while also cutting costs.
Organized medicine actually does a better job of learning from mistakes than the vast majority of industries do. Because medicine deals with life and death, there are lots of very objective studies about best practices and after-action reviews when mistakes may have been made.
Still, the threat of malpractice suits, various issues concerning compensation and numerous other factors make investigations in the medical world far from perfect. The sort of organization recommended by the writer in the Times could be a way of cutting through the fog and getting a better understanding of reality, allowing for greater efficiency and much better results.
There’s a lesson for other businesses, too: If medicine, despite its emphasis on gathering objective information, isn’t getting the straight scoop, just imagine how much negative information gets filtered out in other industries before it reaches the decision-makers.
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