Berwick urges collaborative approach to healthcare improvement

The head of Medicare on Monday reiterated the agency's strategy for improving the nation's healthcare system. But success, warned Donald Berwick, will depend on how well government and the private sector work together toward common goals.

Appearing at the Brookings Institution's Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform, Berwick, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), said the agency will focus on ways to promote better care, ensure better health outcomes and lower costs simultaneously. 

That trio of goals — which experts have dubbed the "Triple Aim" — represent "the centerpiece for the self-image, the definition of success, at CMS during my leadership," Berwick said.

Still, he was quick to warn that no single entity has the power to accomplish those things on its own. Instead, it will take a collaboration between government, industry, employers and the countless other stakeholders interested in reducing waste and improving care across the country.

"It's hard to find a steward of all three," Berwick said of the triple aim. 

"There is no possibility that CMS alone … will get this job done."