Sunday, December 21, 2008

Levy Makes History

When you are in the middle of major change, it is easy to overlook what is happening.

Regular readers of this blog will know of my admiration for Paul Levy, President and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston.

Traveling in the car the other day I tuned in to WBUR, Boston’s NPR station, and heard Paul being interviewed about the stated intention of BIDMC to eliminate medical errors within the next few years and the progress that has been made thus far.

None of this is a secret, having previously been covered in the press, but what struck me was his personally and publicly representing a major Boston teaching hospital on a clinical matter. Twenty years ago – maybe even ten years ago – that would have gotten him fired. In those days, clinical matters were the province of the medical profession.

The consequence is that you now have a non-physician hospital CEO who is accepting personal responsibility for the clinical performance of the doctors, nurses, and all of the other health care workers within the institution he heads.

Reaching that point is an essential element of health care reform. I wasn’t sure I would live long enough to see it.

Anyone interested in hearing the interview can do so by going to


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