UHF Launches Quality Leaders Forum with Program Led by Dr. Thomas Lee

United Hospital Fund (UHF) has a long-standing commitment to improving the quality of health care for all New Yorkers. To further that goal, it recently launched the Quality Leaders Forum to bring emerging and established health care quality leaders together to network among themselves and with nationally recognized quality leaders. Participants in the forum include alumni from the UHF/GNYHA Clinical Quality Fellowship Program and honorees from UHF’s Tribute to Excellence in Health Care

On March 3 the Quality Leaders Forum held its first program, which featured guest speaker Dr. Thomas Lee, chief medical officer of Press Ganey, a Harvard Medical School Professor, and an internist and cardiologist who practices primary care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He started off by noting the impact of the 1999 landmark Institute of Medicine report, To Err is Human: Building a Better Health System, which revealed that at least 44,000 people—and perhaps as many as 98,000—died in U.S. hospitals each year at that time as a result of preventable medical errors. “It was like a light being turned on,” Dr. Lee said.

Participants in the Quality Leaders Forum on March 3. Credit: Ellen Wallop.
Participants in the Quality Leaders Forum on March 3. Credit: Ellen Wallop.

Hospitals and clinicians spent the next 20 years working to improve technical quality and the patient experience. Now, said Dr. Lee, the third act is beginning—creating a culture where health care is reliably and consistently excellent, and where the patient is always at the center. Acknowledging that such culture change can be hard, Dr. Lee told attendees that they could help achieve it by breaking down silos within their organizations and making sure that all staff members are aligned on quality improvement goals.

Dr. Lee emphasized that quality leaders must create an environment of compassion, trust, and respect—“this is how you generate loyalty.” When clinicians feel loyalty and confidence in their organizations, patients tend to as well. “The best marker for whether patients have peace of mind is when they have confidence in their doctors,” he said.

Participants in the Quality Leaders Forum on March 3. Credit: Ellen Wallop.
Participants in the Quality Leaders Forum on March 3. Credit: Ellen Wallop.

“New York has some of the best health care institutions in the world, but there is still unwarranted variation in health outcomes and the quality of care for patients,” said Dr. Anthony Shih, president of UHF. “The Forum will amplify and elevate the vital work of UHF and GNYHA’s programs already underway to make our health care system more patient-centered, safe, and effective.” 

“I am delighted that the Clinical Quality Fellowship Program and the many other important quality improvement programs that GNYHA and UHF have co-sponsored have progressed to this level,” said Lorraine Ryan, Esq., Senior Vice President, Legal, Regulatory, and Professional Affairs at GNYHA. “It is gratifying to see everyone here who is committed to improving the quality of health care.”  

There will be two more programs and keynote speakers for this year’s Quality Leaders Forum: Margaret O’Kane, MHA, Founder and President of the National Committee for Quality Assurance, and Maulik Joshi, DrPH, President and CEO of Meritus Health.

United Hospital Fund is grateful to Elaine and David Gould, whose generosity supports the Quality Leaders Forum.  

March 20, 2020
Focus Area
Quality and Efficiency
Quality Institute