Critics have argued that while Gawande has written extensively on healthcare issues, he has not done much to remedy them. His new role will likely require leadership and negotiation with other healthcare stakeholders, including pharmaceutical companies and pharmacy care managers.
"Two-way communication is pretty important," Dr. Bob Wachter, chairman of the medical faculty of the University of California, San Francisco. "You have to be able to hear what doctors, nurses and CEOs say they have to communicate what (physicians) are trying and why … no one in the world is better at these two things than him." This is another kind of challenge when it comes to Communication goes, so I would swap its ability to do these things as the ability to navigate a large table. "
He is supported by three legendary CEOs. He also founded Lifebox, a non-governmental organization committed to making surgery safer, and Ariadne Labs, an organization focused on innovation in healthcare systems.
Gawande founded Ariadne Labs in 2012. The partnership between Harvard and Brigham and Women's Hospital is best known for its surgical safety checklist developed by Gawande and the Ariadne team in 2008 with the World Health Organization.
According to the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the implementation of the list was associated with a decrease in mortality rates and hospital complications.
Gawande remains executive director while Ariadne Labs seeks his replacement, he said in an e-mail to the Harvard faculty announcing his new role. He will then become the chairman and continue his work as a surgeon and professor. He plans to continue writing, including for The New Yorker.
"I'm happy for him and I'm happy for our area," said Bertagolli, Gawande's former professor and now colleague. "It is clear that healthcare needs new solutions to the problems we face, for someone who is so out-of-the-box, strategic thinker, and based on what we do for patients I could not. I am very pleased that he has this type of vehicle to see a vision. "
Gawande's job is not easy. Health expenditure has risen to 18 percent of the country's gross domestic product and is expected to reach 20 percent by 2025. Skeptics doubt that the new company will be able to do what so many others have tried and did not do.
In his e-mail to Harvard colleagues, Gawande recognized the challenge – and the opportunity.
"This new healthcare facility is one of the most promising ways to accelerate health care improvement in the US," he wrote. "The work will be difficult and time-consuming, but it must be done, and we will have the opportunity to do this with many exceptional organizations, including Ariadne Labs, and my vision is to develop effective healthcare collaboration."
Everyone will see if this initiative will be different.