Study prompts hospital CEO to blog about change

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

A study led by Harvard researchers and published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that hospitals that used a safety checklist before, during and after surgery experienced fewer deaths and complications.

Atul Gawande, M.D., senior author of the paper and a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, told The Boston Globe that the results were “beyond anything we expected.”

According to the Globe:

“The checklist is based on World Health Organization guidelines and takes only a couple of minutes to complete. It requires operating room staff to complete a series of verbal steps before giving the patient anesthesia, before the incision, and before the patient leaves the operating room.”

Paul Levy, president and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, blogged about the study and says he is frustrated about the failures in the medical system to make changes “in a profession that is so steeped in the practice of giving individual physicians the prerogative to do their work the way they want to.”

Gawande is scheduled to speak Feb. 11 in a lecture that will be broadcast online as part of the NIH Director’s 2008-2009 Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series. The topic of his lecture is “Ignorance vs. Ineptitude: Science and the Causes of Failure in Medicine.”

1 thought on “Study prompts hospital CEO to blog about change

  1. Dale Wolf

    First of all, everyone should be thankful of the leadership shown by Paul Levy, president and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. He is the most agressive hospital CEO breaking the ice of isolationism. I am pretty sure his legal staff pleaded with him not to begin his blog for fear that some unintended sentence would get his hospital into a terrible lawsuit.

    He charged ahead.

    He has shown that healthcare at hospitals is a subject we can all talk about. The conversation was and is going on, with or without the CEOs. So he joined the conversation and uses his blog almost as a bully pulpit. In this case, he is imploring hospitals and physicians to walk forward into a new world of medicine where old practices yield to new, where physician egos are left in the parking lot of the hospital and give way to standards that protect lives.

    There are big, really big conversations that need to take place about healthcare and they should not be confined to the floor of Senate investigations or to closed-door meetings of healthcare executives. We desperately need a transparent level of conversation that can build momentum for needed systemic change. Social media are the pulpit. We just need more leaders using it to create better hospitals.

    — Dale Wolf

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