Donald Berwick on Better Care as a Route to Financial Success

Tinker Ready | Health Leaders Media | January 7, 2016

The former head of CMS says "we will never solve the problem of cost and finance by focusing on cost and finance." Instead, it will be resolved "by focusing on the design and redesign of healthcare and the improvement of its quality."

Donald Berwick, MD, president emeritus and senior fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, believes health leaders need to focus on system redesign and quality, rather than on the bottom line to contain costs he describes as "out of control." Some hospital chiefs have a hard time seeing that, he says. And while he believes in transparency, Berwick maintains that hospitals need a break from "measure mania," which he sees as more burdensome than helpful.

Donald Berwick, MDThe former head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and the newest member of the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission talked with HealthLeaders Media this week. This is the first of a two-part interview. The transcript below has been lightly edited.

HLM: What are the most pressing quality issues facing hospitals today?

Berwick: The cost of healthcare in America remains out of control and continues to erode other important agendas in public and private policy and action. I see, by far, the biggest opportunity for proper cost reduction to be through the continued improvement of care...