Top 25 Emerging Leaders
Deputy Quality and Patient Safety Officer,
Weill Cornell Medical Center
As an anesthesia resident, Dr. Peter Fleischut approached leadership at New York-Presbyterian Hospital with a proposal: Why not create a formal forum for his fellow residents to join in patient-safety initiatives?
Dr. Richard Liebowitz, senior vice president and chief medical officer of the 2,264-bed teaching hospital, can recall his reaction to the suggestion: “Why hadn't anybody thought about this before?”
The result—based on the proposal by Fleischut, resident Dr. Adam Evans and faculty adviser Dr. Gregory Kerr—was the 2008 launch of the Housestaff Quality Council. It brought together residents (who know everything that goes on in the hospital, Liebowitz says) with clinical leaders from across the hospital—nursing, information technology, pharmacy—and involved them in quality-improvement initiatives, Fleischut says.
Fleischut, 35, says he and fellow organizers of the council sought a way to “engage and empower” residents in the medical center's quality initiatives to meet national quality goals.
The council achieved results, acknowledgment from national quality experts and caught the attention of other teaching hospitals, where Fleischut has traveled to speak about how to establish new councils.
The effort won the John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award from the National Quality Forum and Joint Commission in 2011.
“This is what I would call a seminal event” in medical education, says Rhonda Anderson, the chairwoman of the Eisenberg judges panel in 2011 and CEO of Banner Health's Cardon Children's Hospital. Anderson says the Housestaff Quality Council gives future physicians critical exposure to the science and the processes of quality improvement in the daily practice of medicine. Without that exposure, residents and fellows enter practice as excellent scientists and diagnosticians, but without the necessary focus on quality and safety to deliver high-value care.
For his accomplishments, Fleischut won a place in Modern Healthcare's 2013 class of Up and Comers.
One early initiative increased compliance with medication reconciliation by 55% within 45 days after changes to the hospital's computerized physician-order entry system suggested by the Housestaff Quality Council, Fleischut and colleagues reported in the American Journal of Medical Quality in 2011. That same year, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education awarded the New York-Presbyterian council the David C. Leach Award for innovation in quality.
After his residency, Fleischut was named the Weill Cornell Medical Center's deputy quality and patient safety officer, a position he has held since 2010. Weill Cornell Medical Center is one campus of the mammoth New York-Presbyterian. He is also an assistant professor of anesthesia for the Weill Cornell Medical College.
Fleischut says his interest in healthcare took hold early on. “I always wanted to go to medical school,” he says. His practice as a physician allows him to care for patients individually while the quality-improvement efforts create another avenue to more broadly benefit patients, he adds.
“I am fascinated with medicine and the ability to help people,” he says.