Chapter 6. Meet Tom Knight, Reengineer

When he’s talking about the risks of health care, Dr. Tom Knight likes to recall the time he took his son and daughter to an adventure camp in Missouri. One of the challenges involved climbing a 30-foot-high pole to stand on a small platform and, then, the children leap into midair to catch hold of a stationary trapeze set about six feet away. The children are attached to a harness and belayed from the ground, but the jump was a true leap of faith.

It’s just as scary to be in a hospital Knight contends. “We ask our patients to jump off faith poles every single day. Think about the faith it takes to have a nurse administer a medication—through an IV—that’s going to be in your heart in 10 seconds. Is it the ...

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