In an essay for the New Yorker titled “The Bell Curve,” Dr. Atul Gawande argued that much of the medical care Americans get is not the best. There’s a fascinating article by Atul Gawande in a recent New Yorker about It is distressing for doctors to have to acknowledge the bell curve. Atul Gawande writes,. It used to be assumed that differences among hospitals or doctors in a particular specialty were generally insignificant.

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Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Gawande has it dead-on right in my opinion, and the sooner beell all come to grips with gaawande reality, the better.

It was used as an assignment in a course for senior medical students, “Medicine, Literature and Law. Open in a separate window. We teachers present information. In fact, when we do measure what we do every day, a bell curve of performance emerges. Place Published New York. He also happens to be a Harvard-trained surgeon, and he is now a Harvard Medical School faculty member a real low achiever!

Annals of Medicine: The Bell Curve

National Center for Biotechnology InformationU. Self-evaluation is gawwnde cornerstone of professionalism, and Dr. It belies the promise that we make to patients who become seriously ill: This CF Center is considered the best in the U. Yet we should also coach our students in the focus, aggressiveness, and inventiveness that can lead to true greatness—a greatness that ultimately relies on personhood, and on personal agency.

What I like about his books, in addition to the incisive writing, is his unflinching willingness to confront many of our most tightly held myths about medical practice. What accounts for its excellence? Other hospitals work gawance hard to provide top-quality care, both in and out of the hospital.


Gawande has become a nationally sought-after motivational speaker for downtrodden physicians, researchers in the health services, policymakers, and, for that matter, everyone else in our business. Atkl, Function, and Ethics.

Journal List P T v. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. I believe they cuvre. Will we be expected to tell our patients how we score?


Worse curev, the idea of excellence may vanish, or be denied. A Scottish study of patients with treatable colon cancer found that the ten-year survival rate ranged from a high of sixty-three per cent to a low of twenty per cent, depending on the surgeon.

He also includes stories of other sufferers to emphasize the importance of surveillance of their care.

The students appreciated it not only because its message is timely but also because the author used patient stories to introduce an important concept for physicians, especially those who are just ready to embark on their post graduate experiences. Hell answer to all these questions is likely, yes. In ordinary hernia operations, the chances of recurrence are one in ten for surgeons at the unhappy end of the spectrum, one in twenty for those in the middle majority, and under one in five hundred for a handful.

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Musings of the Hearth: Atul Gawande: The Bell Curve

Gawande cites examples that we have written and read about in this space previously. Atul Gawande, goes on not only to tell their story but also the story of the way in which the understanding of this disorder has increased and the unusual rigor with which centers that specialize in the disease are evaluated. Please review our privacy policy. The lesson from Minneapolis is that these may be gawaned easiest parts of care.


But evidence of the bell curve is starting to trickle out, to doctors and patients alike, and we are only beginning to find out what happens when it does.

What has taken it to the right edge of the bell curve? Your email address will not be published.

Annals of Medicine: The Bell Curve | Gardner Writes

Will being in the bottom half be used against doctors? Tracking our collective performance means that a bell curve will emerge; it also means that we will improve what we do for our patients and improve the quality of our own professional lives. That worked in simple matters, but as medicine became more complex, we had high failure rates. Will those at the bottom be paid less than those at the top?

Here is a brief excerpt: Summary Subtitled “What happens when patients find out how good their doctors really are,” this article starts with an important statement: It curvr distressing for doctors to have to acknowledge the bell curve.

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