Better by Atul Gawande

Better.jpg“What does it take to be good at something in which failure is so easy, so effortless?” Lasix online

This is the question posed by Atul Gawande in his latest book, “Better – a surgeon’s notes on performance”.

It may make an excellent gift for your fellow collaborators!

Atul is a Boston surgeon, a professor at the Harvard Medical School, and a staff writer for the New Yorker. He is a fascinating story teller.

He explores the theme of improvement by recounting stories about his patients, his practice, and his visits to other places where he seeks ‘positive deviance’.

Undoubtably, he would feel at home at a Collaborative Learning Workshop!

What is the challenge of medicine? He writes:

“This is a book about performance in medicine. As a doctor, you go into this work thinking it is all a matter of canny diagnosis, technical prowess, and some ability to empathise with people. But it is not, you soon find out. In medicine, as in any profession, we must grapple with systems, resources, circumstances, people – and our own shortcomings, as well. We face obstacles of seemingly unending variety. Yet somehow, we must advance, we must refine, we must improve. How we have and how we do is my subject here.”

Where should we focus to improve outcomes for our patients?

“The scientific effort to improve performance in medicine – an effort that at present gets only a miniscule portion of scientific budgets – can arguably save more lives in the next decade than bench science, more lives than research on the genome, stem cell therapy, cancer vaccines, and all the other laboratory work we hear about in the news. The stakes could not be higher”

His conclusion?

“Arriving at meaningful solutions is an inevitably slow and difficult process. Nonetheless, what I saw was: better is possible. It does not take genius. It takes diligence. It takes moral clarity order Premarin . It takes ingenuity. And above all, it takes a willingness to try”.

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His final suggestion for a life in medicine – change.

“So find something new to try, something to change. Count how often you succeed and how often you fail. Write about it. Ask people what they think. See if you can keep the conversation going.”

“Better – a surgeon’s notes on performance” by Atul Gawande is published in Australia by Profile Books.
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5 Responses to “Better by Atul Gawande”

  1. anne bates
    December 16th, 2008 | 7:17 am

    Dear Tony,
    I was planning to buy five compasses from the national geographic store for the five doctors i work with.
    The subtle message being HOPE WE FIND DIRECTION IN 2009.
    However,this book looks much more appropriate to deliver the same message.
    Merry christmas to you and to all of your helpers..its been a fantastic year ,i have embraced all that the collaboratives are about,i have become a great thief.
    merry christmas and thanks for sharing the book idea.

  2. andrew lok
    December 16th, 2008 | 9:45 am

    Hi Tony,
    I think the ability to change is important. But more importatnt is through education to teach one to learn. From able to learn better, one can do better and one will enjoys the success of doing better. This is all change is about, to do better. Not about change for the sake of change.
    And that starts from doing little things better before you can build to bigger things. You can start with better your breakfast menu before you tackle the whole dietary changes to deal with your obesity concern.
    Doing things better is easy. Just give it a try!
    Merry X’mas!

  3. jane
    December 16th, 2008 | 4:15 pm

    There are some wonderful people in this world and being involved in the collaboratives has opened up my eyes to some of them. Hope to hear more and keep up the huge effort tony – we await your next page – and merry christmas to you – i hope you get a relaxing break!!!

  4. December 20th, 2008 | 10:21 am

    Tony, good stuff. I was looking for a good book to read over my xmas break. I agree we all can improve our efforts for better healthcare and need to take risks to do so.
    GP work, especially Aged Care , has many challenges , but we need support like yours to assist us , for the sake of our patients and our families . Cheers

  5. January 1st, 2009 | 11:58 am

    Me again. Read the book and took notes on the 5 suggestions in the final chapter. Feel more optimistic about GP in 2009 and envigorated to return to work . It is a ‘ must read’ for every GP.
    Thanks for the tip and all the best for 2009.
    Terry Ahern

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