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Gawande speaking at Care Innovation Summit
Edits made in the discussion at bottom, 1/27.

Quick post from the media table at today’s Medicare Innovation Summit:

Deservedly famed surgeon & author Atul Gawande just put together a bunch of thoughts into a potent summary. Paraphrasing from memory:

There is a bell curve for quality – a wide gap between the best care and the worst.

There is another bell curve for costs – again, a wide gap.

Surprisingly, the two curves do not match.

And that means there is hope.

Because if the two curves did match – if the best care were the most expensive – then we would be talking about rationing.

Instead, we’re talking about what works.  [This one was his point, but not his actual words.]

This is immensely important, because so often we hear people say things that the data don’t support:

  • “Costs are high because America’s care is so good.” But the curves don’t align.
  • “We can’t afford to give everyone the best – we’re already spending too much.” There’s plenty of money already, if we can get all providers to do the effective things.

A major issue is the providers who aren’t even trying to do what works – and the consumers, employers and insurance plans who don’t react to this data by taking their business elsewhere, putting costly and ineffective providers out of business.

If patients and clinicians are going to be fully empowered, collaborating to create better outcomes, we need to share this awareness with each other. Be empowered and speak up – don’t act powerless, like “there’s nothing we can do – the system is a problem.”

You can watch the summit live here and follow the twitter feed at #cisummit. The event’s web page is; agenda is here.


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