Shot in the Arm

Berwick nomination a boon for quality

President Obama’s appointment of Donald Berwick to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services thrusts quality squarely in the national spotlight. And what a bright spotlight it is.

With healthcare reform top of mind following the passage of Obama’s healthcare reform package, the Berwick announcement gives quality a place on the main stage. Berwick, president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, has proven himself a tireless advocate of quality in improving the safety and efficiency of healthcare delivery. In a recent New York Times article, Elliott S. Fisher, M.D., director of the Center for Health Policy Research at Dartmouth Medical School, called Berwick "a visionary leader who can motivate people to change."

Berwick might face a rocky road as he seeks Senate confirmation to run the $800 billion-a-year administration, but Berwick is a force to be reckoned with, and would provide strong leadership in orchestrating healthcare reform under the new law.

Read more about Berwick and quality’s role in healthcare reform in Keeping Current. QP will continue to follow this story. For up-to-the-minute information, visit www.qualityprogress.com and link to our editors’ Twitter feeds.

This month’s cover story, "Be Prepared," is a timely reminder of the importance of having an effective recall strategy in light of recent product safety concerns. Authors David G. Klaber and Jared S. Hawk lay out the basic components of an effective recall strategy—one that mitigates liability and cost. As much as every company would like to avoid recalls altogether, it’s important to have a proper plan in place just in case.

Complementing the cover story is "Discussion Warranted," an enlightening review of the tenets of a successful warranty program. Citing a need for warranty management that covers product design, operation and service, author Andre Kleyner says: "It is no secret that American companies spend billions of dollars annually paying warranty claims. But a sizable portion of those expenses could be avoided by practicing more efficient warranty management. Understanding the role of warranty in the design, manufacturing and logistics processes is an important step to the commercial success of a product."

Rounding out this month’s features are articles on: how a college used the plan-do-check-act cycle to improve students’ experiences; the quality methods that helped ensure worker safety during the cleanup of a nuclear site; and a case study on a Boeing project that netted its team bronze honors at last year’s ASQ International Team Excellence Awards.

Seiche Sanders

Seiche Sanders

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