Algorithm 5: Case Study 1

Preaching the good news

A Baptist preacher. That’s what Robert Pendleton, M.D., felt like when he first took the job of chief medical quality officer two years ago. He’d make the rounds trying to inspire 8,000 faculty and staff members to see past the stormy waters of health care reform and seize the opportunity to create a better system for patients. He realized the hospital had been too busy telling people what to do, instead of asking them to think. “The frontline staff knows best where the waste is, where there are inefficiencies and where the opportunities for improvement lie,” says Pendleton. He believes that providers have two choices – either sit on the sidelines and be a victim of change, or embrace the opportunity to be unshackled from the fee-for-service environment and create a system they believe in. It’s clear which path he thinks leads to career satisfaction. Today, Pendleton has stepped off the pulpit and instead looks for ways to support a “tidal wave of providers who are leading the way forward.” It’s been a sea change in culture, with hundreds of quality improvement projects successfully launched and continuous, real-time improvement happening daily. “What an exhilarating profession it is to be in right now,” says Pendleton.