Michael L. Millenson is a nationally recognized expert on improving the quality, safety, and patient-centeredness of American health care and is author of the book, “Demanding Medical Excellence: Doctors and Accountability in the Information Age.” He is president of Health Quality Advisors LLC, as well as Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

Recent Posts by Michael Millenson

Will Hospitals Help Or Hinder A Better Report Card?

Medicare recently delayed a plan to issue a simple “star” rating of individual hospitals’ care. However, if the hospital groups that sought this delay truly seek to sever the industry from its self-protective past, they don’t have to wait for government.

Medicare, Fair Pay, And The AMA: The Forgotten History

Perhaps the most well-known part of the 1965 Medicare creation tale is the opposition by the American Medical Association (AMA) to “socialized medicine.” The forgotten story of professionalism’s failure to contain physician greed provides an important policy perspective.

Recalling To Err’s Impact — And A Small But Telling IOM Mistake

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Institute of Medicine (IOM)’s To Err is Human report, which famously declared that from 44,000 to 98,000 Americans died each year from preventable mistakes in hospitals and another one million were injured. That blunt conclusion from a prestigious...

Not In My Name: Real Patient-Centeredness Means Sharing Power

It is as natural for doctors, hospitals, health plans and others to aggressively affirm their “patient-centeredness” as it is for politicians to loudly proclaim their fealty to the hard-working American middle class. Like the politicians, the health care professionals no doubt believe every...

The Toll Of Preventable Errors: How Many Dead Patients?

Here’s a quiz for Patient Safety Awareness Week (and after): The number of Americans who die annually from preventable medical errors is: . A) 44,000-98,000, according to the Institute of Medicine B) None, thanks to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s “100,000 Lives Campaign” C) 90,000...

March 9, 2012Hospitals, Quality

Why We Still Kill Patients: Invisibility, Inertia, And Income

A recent front-page article in the New York Times conveyed grim news about patient safety. The first large-scale study of hospital safety in a decade concluded that care has not gotten significantly safer since the Institute of Medicine’s 1999 estimate of up to 98,000 preventable deaths and 1...

December 6, 2010Hospitals, Public Health, Quality

Remembering Jay Katz: The Enduring Voice Of “The Silent World”

By the fourth sentence of the preface to The Silent World of Doctor and Patient, Jay Katz has quietly issued a startling challenge to a fundamental principle of the doctor-patient relationship. He writes: It took time before I appreciated fully the oddity of physicians’ insistence that patients...

December 28, 2008Health Professionals

Eight Days: A Health Care Diary

PAIN (Chicago, June 19 – June 21) I sit down at a circular table in the high-ceilinged meeting room and conversationally ask the two women already there what brought them to this three-day conference. The first replies that she had a daughter die from a medical mistake. The other, a nurse, lost...

July 10, 2008Narrative Matters, Quality


Back in November, Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee wrote a remarkably candid essay for a special election issue of the trade journal Modern Healthcare. Since then, the former Arkansas governor’s campaign has morphed from single-digit obscurity to mainstream prominence, and the...

January 31, 2008Costs and Spending, Following the ACA