Book Review: Reengineering Health Care: A Manifesto for Radically Rethinking Health Care Delivery

I’ll be honest.  What initially prompted me to give this selection the #1 spot on my nightstand was the fact that it was coauthored by Harry Greenspun, MD, a colleague who previously shared a “Day in the Life” blog with us here at Healthcare IT Today, and who graciously agreed to participate in UIC’s interview series, conducted during a very busy HIMSS11.  I’ve always appreciated that Harry is willing to help with my projects, great or small.  So, I figured the least I could do was plod through another book on the current state of healthcare affairs, and if I didn’t appreciate the content, I just wouldn’t mention it.

Fortunately after reading the book from start to finish last night, I can highly recommend you do the same!  At just a bit over 200 pages, this is not a long, boring dissertation citing dry statistics and filling up page after page with hard-to-decipher graphs and charts.  Instead, Dr. Greenspun and his coauthor Jim Champy provide an inspirational guide to positive change, understanding that the true change agents for process improvement are those “in-the-trenches” troops who actually deliver healthcare to patients–physicians, nurses, pharmacists, techs, etc.  Particularly relevant are the case studies that help to illustrate the authors’ manifesto – my only complaint is that I would have liked to have read more of these – perhaps a sequel?

Here are some other reviews from names in our industry you may recognize:

Reengineering Health Care gets to the core of transforming our current system by advocating the widespread use of IT, eliminating inefficient practices, and keeping the system focused on a healthy individual and not on a broken process.”

Newt Gingrich, Founder of the Center for Health Transformation, and former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives

“This book is a prescription for streamlining health care. Using the techniques that have successfully transformed business into customer-focused and efficient organizations, the authors provide a step-by-step approach to improving health care processes, guiding health care into the next generation of Lean delivery systems.”

Dr. John Halamka, Chief Information Officer, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

“In health care, we tend to inundate our people with information, rather than enabling them to have insights. This concise guide will resonate with both senior and front-line managers who know they’re engaged in unproductive work. They will see that reengineering is not overly difficult and can enable them to improve patient care and efficiency.”

Trevor Fetter, President and CEO, Tenet Health Corporation, and Trustee,
Federation of American Hospitals

“It isn’t reform that will fix our ailing health care system, its reengineering. Champy and Greenspun highlight organizations that have transformed, and reinvented, themselves by reengineering care delivery–they’ve lowered costs, improved care quality and patient safety, and increased the satisfaction of those giving and receiving care. Every clinician, hospital executive, and politician should read this book.”

Bill Crounse, M.D., Senior Director, Worldwide Health, Microsoft Corporation

“Implement health care technology, and you have better health care tools; reengineer with a focus on technology, process, and people, and you have a better health care system. This straightforward guide shows how to transform health care to maximize quality, safety, convenience, and impact the cost of delivery. No one can read this book and not feel a profound call to action.”

H. Stephen Lieber, CAE, President & CEO, HIMSS

Enjoy!  What’s the #1 read on your nightstand at the moment?

About the author


Gwen Darling

Gwen Darling is a Search Executive specializing in Healthcare IT, the Founder of Healthcare IT Central (the leading online Career Center for Healthcare IT job seekers and employers), and the Former Editor/Founder of Healthcare IT Today. Gwen also is a featured blogger for Healthcare Informatics magazine.