Guwande, Berwick ink NYTimes op-ed on how to lower costs, increase quality in American healthcare

To boost quality and lower healthcare costs, it's not necessary for the American healthcare system to adopt a foreign model, but rather to look to successful models that exist within the U.S. That's the message from an op-ed piece written by Atul Gawande, Donald Berwick, Elliot Fisher and Mark McClellan that appeared this weekend in the New York Times.

 According to the op-ed, the authors invited teams from ten regions of the country that were considered "high performing" to meet and discuss why residents in their areas received higher quality healthcare at a lower cost than the rest of the nation.  Each of the ten groups had different stories to tell, but lead the authors to the same conclusion: there is a lot of troubling rhetoric being thrown around in the health care debate. But we don’t need to be trapped between charges that reforms will ration care and doing nothing about costs and coverage. We must instead look at the communities that are already redesigning American health care for the better, and pursue ways for the nation to follow their lead.

(SOURCES: HCPro Patient Safety Monitor, http://hcpro.com, August 19, 2009; New York Times, http://nytimes.com, accessed September 15, 2009)