Safety & quality
Dr. Anthony Sorkin
Executive medical director, population health,
Sorkin led an effort to standardized patient care across 16 hospitals and 300-plus post-acute settings. This included developing custom quality measures that, among other things, look at actual spending on patient care versus what was expected. IU Health also instituted use of real-time data measures and rapid process-improvement programs to help standardize care across home health, nursing homes and long-term care during the pandemic. Some the results include 300% growth in aligning IU Health’s care model in post-acute settings; 12% shorter lengths of stay; and 26% lower readmissions compared with people managed outside the care model.
How do you identify opportunities for innovation?
Like many other leaders in healthcare, I believe that innovation is born out of necessity—and usually from a specific need to resolve a barrier to achieve a desired outcome. Our team sticks closely to the Donabedian model—when an outcome is not achieved, look to the associated structure and process for opportunities for intervention.
What advice do you have for people who know how to get an idea in front of managers but may be afraid of failing?
Communication with managers and senior leaders can be simplified by identifying your audience and what motivates them professionally toward success. The same idea/innovation can have totally different meanings/outcomes for diverse stakeholders. I firmly believe that the only way to gain experience is to have failed and learn what factors contributed to an unacceptable outcome. An honest assessment of failure is key—there is no Blame Committee. And finally—encourage early assessment and encourage countermeasures or a significant pivot if the innovative process is not leading to the desired goal outcome.
How do you stay focused on innovation in a crisis?
This is a challenging question because it speaks to the culture of an organization—something that would be very difficult to modify in a pandemic. I am fortunate to be part of IU Health where, like other successful large organizations, they develop/promote leadership in middle management that understands the importance allowing people on the frontlines of a challenge to ask a question and not be answered by “because that is the way it is.”