The Book

books2From the Foreword written by David B. Nash, MD, MBA

When John Byrnes asked me to write the foreword to his new book, The Quality Playbook, I immediately thought, Who needs another book about Quality? Selfishly, I’ve written, edited, or contributed to seven such books in the past thirty years. I’ve taught literally thousands of physicians and other leaders the fundamentals of quality and safety and now I’m the dean of the only College of Population Health in the country, where we offer a Master’s Degree in Quality and Safety. What more could any single person add to the cacophony of voices about our field?

Boy, was I glad I took John up on his challenge! The Quality Playbook is frankly nothing like I have ever written, edited, or contributed to! It is far better. Amazingly, John has put together a real life “playbook”—a how-to, pragmatic, in-the-trenches, what-to-do-on-Monday guide to our oftentimes confusing—filled with jargon and even silliness—field. How many meetings about quality and safety have you been to at your organization where you have emerged from the room shaking your head wondering who is literally managing the store? How many books about quality, lean, safety, and teamwork have you read that have left you empty-handed each and every time?

The good news is that your search is over; I believe John has created the single most important contribution to the literature on quality and safety in our recent history. John has taken the notion that “high-quality care costs less” and has expanded that into a book-length, football-team-like playbook of how exactly to make this work. For example, he smartly connects the role of the chief medical officer to the role of the chief financial officer and makes it explicitly clear, throughout 50+ chapters, that when we all do a better job, practice based on the evidence, and reduce medical error, we produce higher quality healthcare with fewer mistakes and less harm. Who could argue with such a straightforward formula?

Throughout the five major sections of the book, cleverly labeled, “Winning the Playoffs,” “Your Game Plan,” “Coaches and Players,” “Tools, Tactics, and Plays,” and finally my favorite section, part five, “The Front Office and Owners (The Board),” John makes it fun to figure out how—indeed—high-quality care costs less.

Back to my favorite section of the book, part five, chapters 48 through 59. Having now served as a board of trustee member at both a national, not-for-profit, Catholic hospital system, and a regional powerhouse in suburban Philadelphia, I surely empathize with board members across the country. These twelve chapters are a wonderful “how-to” guide for new board members, especially those serving on the quality and safety committee. In fact, I’m moved to take these chapters and distribute them (of course, after I buy multiple copies of the book), to all of my colleagues on the board of trustees at the Main Line Health System in Philadelphia. The board needs to pay attention to the core message of this book.

John’s writing style is “crisp” and easy to follow. I am confident that the accompanying workbook will help scores of leaders take the playbook right into the “huddle” and help assign appropriate roles to the various team members. Remember, most doctors who lack training in quality and safety believe that golf is a team sport! This book will continue to dispel these kinds of myths and will help us bring the ball down the field and score a touchdown for quality and safety.

Kudos to my friend John Byrnes. He’s taken a professional lifetime of hard hits on the gridiron of quality and safety. He’s picked himself up from the field, returned to the locker room, and from all of that pain, he’s generated a playbook that will help generations of emerging leaders in our field. I’m so excited. I’m also proud to be standing right in the huddle with him, cheering him and all of his colleagues on to victory.

David B. Nash, MD, MBA
Dean, Jefferson College of Population Health
Fall 2015