The Harvard surgeon and writer Atul Gawande explains that the routine mistakes and extensive waste in modern medicine result from a longstanding “cowboy” mentality in medical practice. Because medicine has become so complex he suggests that healing medicine will require fewer cowboys and more pit crews.
Dr. Gawande describes how physicians and surgeons can markedly improve care by working together in teams, using simple tools like checklists, and standardizing care. He says: Making systems work is the great task of my generation of physicians and scientists. But I would go further and say that making systems work — whether in healthcare, education, climate change, making a pathway out of poverty — is the great task of our generation as a whole.