On November 6th, we co-hosted a screening of the film Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare. A standing-room-only crowd enjoyed the award-winning film followed by a discussion led by William Baumgartner, MD and our Cynda Hylton Rushton, PhD, RN

Dr. Rushton summarizes some simple take home messages from the film and discussion:

1. Go beyond  rhetoric to action: Embody your values and intentions for your work in each interaction. Treat each patient, family and your colleagues as you would want to be treated. First do no harm and seek to benefit each person you encounter.

2. Ask why and why not? Create systematic pauses in daily practice to reflect on why are we doing this? Disrupt autopilot thinking by pausing to consider if this patient’s interests and life goals are served by ordering tests, procedures, or treatments.  Apply the Choosing Wisely standards to your patient population. Do the right thing for the right reasons.

3.  Be informed. Understand the clinical, policy, and organizational context for health care delivery.  Attend sessions offered by Center for Health Policy and Healthcare Transformation to learn about the implications of the nation’s health care plan on your practice. Participate in the Bioethics Institute’s Accountable Care Organization seminar in January 2014.

4.  Be a voice for change. Advocate for changes in practices, culture and policy.  Tell stories using your real life examples of the impact of decisions and policies on patients, their families, clinicians and society.  Prepare your own 3 minute elevator speech so that you are prepared when opportunity arises. Be courageous!

BE ENGAGED. Each person is accountable for the integrity of our health care system.


What do you think? How can we win the fight to rescue American healthcare?


Cynda Hylton Rushton, PhD, RN, is the Anne and George L. Bunting Professor of Clinical Ethics. She holds a joint appointment in the Johns Hopkins University schools of Nursing and Medicine – Department of Pediatrics – and is a founding member and core faculty at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics

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Alan Regenberg
Cynda Rushton

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