Dr. Atul Gawande's 3 takeaways on reducing healthcare costs, improving care

Atul Gawande, MD, the surgeon chosen as CEO of the healthcare venture for Amazon, JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway, on June 21 identified various methods for reducing healthcare costs during the annual meeting of America's Health Insurance Plans in San Diego, reports Reuters.

Here are three takeaways from his speech.

1. Dr. Gawande, a surgeon at Boston-based Brigham and Women's Hospital and contributor to The New Yorker, identified surgery as the nation's biggest healthcare cost, not pharmaceutical costs or other expenses. With that in mind, he said: "We need to act through data tracking ... to see when treatments are benefiting and when they are not."

2. Dr. Gawande expressed his support for health insurance continuing to provide coverage for pre-existing conditions, Reuters reported. He called denying such coverage "a disaster for any kind of healthcare. Life is the accumulation of chronic illnesses."

3. During his speech, he also addressed assessing end-of-life care: "People have priorities besides just living longer. We have to ask that [what their wishes are], but we don't ask. The result is the care we provide is not in alignment with their priorities."


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