Surgeon, Harvard researcher, New Yorker writer and best-selling author Dr. Atul Gawande speaks at the 2018 Aspen Ideas Festival with Judy Woodruff of PBS. They explored some of the most pressing issues in health and medicine today.
Dr. Gawande was recently named CEO of a joint health venture launched by JP Morgan Chase, Amazon and Berkshire Hathaway.
JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said he, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett hired Atul Gawande for their new initiative because, "if you know Atul, you know he's got a big brain and a big heart. He has a huge work ethic. He's trustworthy."
At the Aspen Ideas Festival, Dr. Gawande said the initiative is an independent entity and non-profit. There are three core goals: better outcomes, better satisfaction with care, and better cost efficiency. He added that "resources won't be the problem. Human behavior and achieving scale will be the problems."
Dr. Gawande said "medicine has become so complicated that we have basic problems in the way we practice that can be overcome, and that we can arrive at a way that health care practice is much more about simply achieving the right care, in the right way, for the patient every time.
The solutions, Gawande said, include addressing three sources of waste in the health care system:
1)very high administration costs and a lot of "middle men." 2)pricing 3)"mis-utilization, which means the wrong care at the wrong time and the wrong way."
Gawande says it's very complicated. "There are 70,000 ways the human body can fail. We've generated 4,000 medical surgical procedures, 6,000 drugs, and we're trying to deploy that capability town by town in the right way, at the right time, for everybody alive. It's the most ambitious thing anybody has ever attempted, and we're still building it on a version that says, 'Oh, we're just going to pay your clinician and they'll take care of it.'"
Gawande said Obamacare is "in critical condition." He said the Trump administration's lawsuit to drop pre-existing conditions exclusions, and pointed out that life expectancy has improved considerably, and that "human life is now an accumulation of chronic illnesses." "And you can live well with all these conditions."
Atul Gawande is a general and endocrine surgeon at Brigham and Women's hospital in Boston, a professor of surgery and a professor health policy at Harvard University, and a New Yorker staff writer since 1998.
He's the author of four best-selling books, including "Complications," "Better," "The Checklist Manifesto" and his latest, "Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End."
Judy Woodruff is anchor and managing editor of PBS Newshour.