A 1930s engineering feat in Honduras is a metaphor for today's healthcare system, according to several speakers at the December Institute for Healthcare Improvement National Forum in Orlando, including Don Berwick, MD, former CMS administrator, and Scott Weingarten, MD, of director of health services research at Cedars Sinai Health System in Los Angeles.
The Choluteca Bridge was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with
such design strength, it could withstand the worst of hurricanes that
affected the area. When Hurricane Mitch came in 1998, it destroyed 150
Honduran bridges, but not the Choluteca Bridge. Instead, the storm
rerouted the Choluteca River. So now, the Choluteca Bridge is useless.
Today's healthcare organizations are like the Choluteca Bridge, because
they were designed and built for a different river, the heavy-duty,
invasive procedures in high volume and serious illness, not for
prevention and health, several speakers said during a recent talk at
the Institute for Healthcare Improvement meeting in Orlando.