Several months ago, the New York Times Magazine featured an article about Brent James, from Intermountain Health. I have written about him here, too, as one of the experts in improving quality and safety and other processes in hospitals.
Today, one of our doctors was giving a report about the activities of one of our clinical care committees. I perked up when he started a sentence with, "As Brent James has taught us . . ." The rest of the sentence had to do with the idea of not responding to a single clinical event, but rather focusing on a pattern of such events to find underlying systemic issues worthy of investigation and improvement.
I think Brent would be happy to know that his lessons have taken root at this Harvard teaching hospital. I, too, am pleased that we have provided opportunities for our staff to learn from people like him. Academic medical centers have done fine studying disease, diagnoses, and cures, but they lag in understanding the science of process improvement. We aim to change that here.