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Ask Berwick: Would employing more staff improve the patient experience?

By IHI Open School | Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Dr. Don Berwick, President Emeritus and Senior Fellow at IHI and Former Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, answers one of your questions every week in our new blog series, “Ask Berwick.” You can catch up on previous "Ask Berwick" Q&A's here.


This week, Dr. Don Berwick answers a question posed on Twitter by @AnnWilliams6: "Would employing more staff improve the patient experience?"


Ask Berwick 5 



Having trouble viewing this video? Watch it on YouTube.


In his answer, Dr. Berwick recommends first looking at how the system could be improved, before adding more staff. By redesigning the work environment, he says, we can change the relationship between staff and patient. In a recent article titled "Teaching Physicians to Care Amid Chaos" that Dr. Berwick co-authored with Allan Detsky, MD, for the Journal of American Medicine, he dives in deeper into a staff's role in improving the patient experience.


"In 2013, inpatient medical care in teaching hospitals is different: far more complex, more intense, and, simply put, faster. The arsenal of diagnostic tests, medical therapies, interventional technologies, and health care professionals is much larger." You can read the full article here.


Make sure to check back next week, when Berwick digs into his past experiences to answer a question from Gwendolyn Dean, MD, about his greatest legacy as a pediatrician.


Do you have a question? Join the conversation and "Ask Berwick." Tweet @IHIOpenSchool using #AskBerwick, email openschool@ihi.org, or comment on Facebook.

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