by Donald M. Berwick, MD, MPP, President Emeritus and Senior Fellow, Institute for Healthcare Improvement
Excerpted from from the Foreword of Quality Health Care: A Guide to Developing and Using Indicators, Second Edition, by Robert C. Lloyd. (Available Sept. 1, 2017)
In the now 30-year history of bringing modern quality methods into the control, improvement, and planning of health care, skeptics sometimes comment on the “religious” tone of that movement. Leaders and others in the workforce who get the quality “bug,” seem to buzz with their enthusiasm. They adopt phrases like “joy in work,” “pursuing perfection,” and a “never-ending journey,” and sprinkle their vocabulary with unfamiliar technical expressions, like “PDSA cycles,” “high reliability organizations,” and “statistical process control.” And, they seem to think they are right, lamenting together that too many others so not see what they, at last, see.
So it does, indeed, seem to newcomers as if a religion, or at least a cult, has arrived in town. The “immune reaction” can be strong.