Just a quick heads up on an article in next weekend’s New York Times Sunday Magazine by my friend David Leonhardt. David profiles Intermountain Healthcare’s Brent James, capturing Brent’s (and Intermountain’s) unique and increasingly influential philosophy of using performance data to catalyze physician practice change. ??
The piece, which deftly highlights the tension between “cookbook medicine” and clinical intuition, is destined to become another classic in the growing lay-oriented literature that describes how quality and safety can be promoted in medicine. Like my two other favorites in this genre (both New Yorker pieces by Atul Gawande, focused on the work of Don Berwick and Peter Pronovost), it profiles an iconoclastic optimist – which just shows that this work is so hard, the payment incentives so perverse, and the cultural forces so daunting that you really need a Kevlar-wearing, bullheaded, saintly genius to get it done.