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Harvard Business Review on Fixing Healthcare from Inside & Out by Harvard Business Review

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Health Care Needs a New Kind of Hero

An Interview with Atul Gawande

by Gardiner Morse

IN HIS LATEST BOOK, The Checklist Manifesto, surgeon and writer Atul Gawande describes how asking some simple questions before surgery starts—such as “Did we give the patient her antibiotic?” and even “Did we introduce ourselves to one another?”—can reduce infections and deaths by more than a third. Easy as this exercise is, it’s often met with hostility, because it challenges doctors’ cherished notions about status, autonomy, and expertise. In this edited interview, HBR senior editor Gardiner Morse asks Gawande what checklists reveal about the culture of medicine and how its dysfunctions might be fixed.

HBR: Despite doctors’ resistance to new ideas, surgical ...

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