Monday, March 07, 2005

My How Things Do Change

The greater part of my career in hospital administration was spent in teaching hospitals. During that time, I and my colleagues were proud to work in that setting because we believed that academic medicine was the primary source of leadership in the improvement of health care.

Apparently that is no longer the case.

In an article in the February 14, 2005 issue of Modern Healthcare, James Anderson and Uma Kotagal of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC) reported on a quality improvement initiative being carried out at that institution. CCHMC is affiliated with the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and its pediatric faculty members staff the College’s Department of Pediatrics. It is one of seven hospitals participating in the Pursuing Perfection project sponsored by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The goal of Pursuing Perfection is to transform the quality of care.

In describing some of the challenges they faced, the authors made this statement: “It is hardly surprising that faculty members who are balancing responsibilities for clinical care, teaching and research feel they cannot give time to quality-improvement initiatives, much less make the transformation of patient care their highest priority.”

So it seems that things have changed. In the search for leadership in fixing our health care system, it looks as though we will have to look elsewhere than to academic medicine.

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