President Obama is tapping into his old friends at Harvard to help him manage his massive Healthcare policy change. This time, Obama nominated Dr. Donald Berwick to be the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at the Department of Health and Human Services.
Dr. Berwick has an impressive resume. He is a pediatrician by trade, the President and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Professor of Pediatrics and Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Harvard School of Public Health.
On the flip side, some think Dr. Berwick is the perfect candidate for the establishment of the death panel. Their proof is from Dr Berwick’s long-time association with Britain’s NHS. The NHS was recently accused of systematically causing unnecessary and early deaths in the elderly and the very ill. In 2008, Dr. Berwick spoke of the following of his relationship with NHS: “Let me begin with thanks – twice. First, thanks for letting me work with you for almost 15 years; this has been one of the most satisfying journeys of my entire career. My colleagues in the Institute for Healthcare Improvement feel the same. Second, thanks for what the NHS does as an example for health care worldwide.”
Dr. Berwick has written over 130 publications. Here is an excerpt from his one about the handwriting of doctors.
The handwriting of doctors was no less legible than that of non-doctors. Significantly lower legibility than average was associated with being an executive and being male. Overall legibility scores were normally distributed, with median legibility equivalent to a rating between “fair” and “good.” CONCLUSION: This study fails to support the conventional wisdom that doctors’ handwriting is worse than others.’ Illegible writing is, however, an important cause of waste and hazard in medical care, but efforts to improve the safety and efficiency of written communication must approach the problem systemically- and assume that the problems are in inherent in average human writing-rather than treating doctors as if they were a special subpopulation.
All of Dr. Donald Berwick’s publications and complete details are available on Vitals.com.