Recently, you might be interested to know, I met an actual cowboy. He described to me how cowboys do their job today, herding thousands of cattle. They have tightly organized teams, with everyone assigned specific positions and communicating with each other constantly. They have protocols and checklists for bad weather, emergencies, the inoculations they must dispense. Even the cowboys, it turns out, function like pit crews now. It may be time for us to join them.
Per usual, Atul Gawande’s utterances are worth your time and attention. This part-indictment, part-inspirational healthcare monolog was delivered to the 2011 graduates of Harvard Medical School.