Dramatic changes in quality of care and patient safety at The Brooklyn Hospital Center are hard to overstate.

The hospital used to have hundreds of hospital-acquired infections each year—now it has almost none. Avoidable readmissions have plummeted. The number of hospital-acquired conditions, like pressure ulcers, has come way down. And in the space of three years, from 2015 to 2018, the hospital’s safety score set by the Leapfrog Group—a leading nonprofit committed to improving patient safety—went from an “F” to an “A”. These quality improvement efforts likely resulted in the saving of lives and prevention of numerous injuries. 

So, what happened? What accounted for this radical transformation?

Dr. Vasantha Kondamudi
Dr. Vasantha Kondamudi

According to The Brooklyn Hospital Center’s Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President, Dr. Vasantha Kondamudi, much of this progress can be traced back to UHF’s Clinical Quality Fellowship Program (CQFP). Created jointly by United Hospital Fund and the Greater New York Hospital Association in 2009, the CQFP’s goal is simple but ambitious: train the next generation of quality improvement leaders in health care. 

How it works: regional leaders in health care quality offer 15 months of intensive training to a class of fellows. The fellows—doctors, nurses, and physician assistants nominated by their institutions—learn how to use a wide array of tools and techniques to improve the quality, efficiency, and safety of patient care. Since 2009 the program has trained more than 235 clinicians in over 50 hospitals to lead quality improvement efforts in their own institutions.  

One of them is Dr. Kondamudi, a member of the third class of the CQFP in 2011. “I was able to learn the essence of quality improvement and strategies to improve outcomes and was able to implement some of those tactics in my own organization.”

In leading the quality improvement drive at The Brooklyn Hospital Center, Dr. Kondamudi focused on reducing surgical-site infections and improving outcomes for patients with pneumonia, congestive heart failure, and acute myocardial infarction. 

The CQFP provided her with a “foundation” that is still a cornerstone of her quest for quality. “I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything,” she says.

Learn more about the CQFP