Don Berwick's Newest Phase: Candidate, But Still Dr. Quality

Martha Bebinger | Kaiser Health News | August 29, 2013

Dr. Donald Berwick might be running for Governor of Massachusetts, but he's still got a foothold in his former life.

Berwick, most recently known as the acting chief of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, had a long record as the leading authority on health care quality, including being founder and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. And it was more in that capacity that the British Prime Minister David Cameron asked Berwick for his recommendations for improving safety and restoring confidence after higher-than-expected death rates at one hospital rocked the country.

The result? Berwick's "Letter to the people of England" explained his call for continuous learning without blame as the fastest route to improved quality within the National Health Service. The NHS needs national safe-staffing formulas that can be applied, with discretion, Berwick said, to avoid the dangers of understaffing at British hospitals. Berwick spoke, by phone, to a group of reporters about the health care and political lessons his work in the UK offers for Massachusetts...