This review is by avid reader and book reviewer, and Studer Group Coach, Lynne Cunningham.

Nate Kaufman, the keynote speaker at the recent What’s Right in Healthcare Conference, recommended Unaccountable, by Marty Makary, M.D. As I read it, I kept hoping there would be a disclaimer that this was really a Michael Palmer fiction book. But – no, a skilled surgeon who’s talking about what’s wrong with our industry writes this. Our healthcare industry needs accountability, transparency and the skills to speak up now as much as ever.

Here are some of the highlighted excerpts to ponder:

  • “Using the New England Journal of Medicine report that 25 percent of all hospitalized patients are harmed from a medical mistake in some way, consider the instant cost savings of a 50 percent reduction in mistakes alone.”
  • “Thankfully there is a new generation of doctors and nurses moving up through the ranks with little tolerance for the immature behavior once modeled by the surgical elite. The current generation of health professionals signed up for medicine on the understanding that there are rules:  rules for behavior, mutual respect, and rules limiting their work week to a more humane schedule.”
  • “According to a research study, there was an 83 percent increase in complications after elective surgery when the surgeon was on call the night before and hadn’t gotten adequate sleep.”
  • “In the past century, medicine learned to use an incredibly powerful tool that has saved lives and improved the efficacy of treatments and the quality of care.  That tool was data. The revolution it made possible was called evidence-based medicine. No doctor, nurse, or health care executive today would ignore the value of carefully collected data in determining the best ways to treat patients. Yet even as our system relies on evidence to function, we fail to make the same tool available to patients who are confronting decisions of critical, even life-and-death importance. The evidence-based revolution has already transformed medicine for the better. Now we need a transparency revolution. Transparency has the power not just to improve the experience of patients, but to transform the business of health care in America.”

If you don’t read the whole book, at least read the reviews in HealthLeaders or in The Wall Street Journal. The greatest takeaway is that the time for changes in healthcare is upon us. We must all pay greater attention to the tools available to us, and seek healthcare professionals who are engaged and transparent.

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