Progress on health costs
The most memorable magazine article I read this summer may have been Atul Gawande’s take on the health care industry in the New Yorker, and I think of it whenever the topic of health costs comes up.
Gawande, a Boston surgeon, compared U.S. hospitals to the Cheesecake Factory – and showed how the hospitals could learn something from the restaurant chain. Gawande goes into considerable detail on how the Cheesecake Factory sets and enforces standards of quality and uniformity, how they train and supervise employees, how they identify best practices and communicate them through the organization. The company determines the single best way to dribble pesto glaze and makes sure everyone knows how.
The Cheesecake Factory kitchen manager had a suggestion for the surgeon: “This is pretty obvious. I’m sure you already do it. But I’d study what the best people are doing, figure out how to standardize it, and then bring it to everyone to execute.”