Former CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center speaks on transparency

Paul Levy is the former CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. He is author of the blog Not Running a Hospital.

He recently spoke at a Quality and Safety retreat sponsored by MedStar Health (a healthcare organization in the Baltimore-Washington DC area). His topic was transparency.

Here is the video:

He explains how transparency can be a way for an organization to “hold itself accountable to the standard of care it says it believes in.”

Dr. Levy tells several stories about how his hospital moved toward embracing a culture of patient safety.

In about 2005, the Chief of Medicine decided the hospital had too many central line infections. They assigned people to research best practices for inserting central lines, trained everyone, and started keeping track of infection. The number of infections decreased. And then Dr. Levy decided to post the number of central line infections on his blog. What he learned is that by revealing the number of infections publicly, the staff (who was already proud of their accomplishments in reducing infections) pushed themselves to do even better.

After success with central line infections, the idea of using transparency to drive patient safety was expanded. The board of directors set a goal of eliminating preventable harm in their hospital within four years, and they voted unanimously to post every case of preventable harm on their website.

Wow. That is leadership from someone who really is serious about creating an environment of patient safety.

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2 thoughts on “Former CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center speaks on transparency

  1. I watched the video twice now, it’s inspiring, gives one hope that once felt helpless and hopeless because of a medical tragedy from the loss of a family member through errors and negligence then the betrayal of lies and deceit of the administration. I joined Mr. Levi’s blog a while back now, the fact that he had been a former CEO of a hospital and the post I had read was about transparency confused me, blew my mind!! I thought is this man for real, everybody knows that CEO’s are part of the problem and not the solution of patients getting harmed and dying and the families being lied to. As far as I’m concerned he knows the truth about everything that goes on in a hospital “everything”. My hope and belief is that while he was a CEO (because of what he talks about and stands for) is that he did right by patients and their families, always. He seems to be a good and honest man, with a big, kind heart, also with the biggest and best intentions for everyone, that’s all and what matters to me here and now!!! I appreciate what he does- trying to make and create a positive difference in the medical world.

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