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Jeffrey Glasheen, MD Leads a Sustainable and Comprehensive Change Initiative

Aims to Improve Quality, Safety and Efficiency on the Anschutz Medical Campus


Jeffrey Glasheen, MD

Comprehensive change requires great leaders at all levels. A concept Jeffrey Glasheen, MD understood, which is why he was named director of the University of Colorado’s Institute for Healthcare Quality, Safety and Efficiency (IHQSE). Tasked with the mission of creating a healthcare system that ensures every patient receives the highest quality of care through avoiding harm and minimizing inefficiencies, Dr. Glasheen is helping the Anschutz Medical Campus develop leaders who can facilitate lasting and sustainable changes at the front lines of care.

The IHQSE was formed to improve care outcomes for patients served by the School of Medicine, Children’s Hospital Colorado and the University of Colorado Hospital (UCH). The program’s design also helps position Anschutz for larger—and inevitable—changes the organizations will face as health care evolves.

Dr. Glasheen guided the Anschutz leadership committee overseeing the IHQSE to embrace fundamental principles, which include the development of a long-term view that crosses all institutional missions and an inter-professional, funded approach focusing on inspired, “dogged” leadership.

A Phased Approach Facilitates Comprehensive Cultural Change

The first and primary arm of the IHQSE is clinical team development, which will identify and train a physician and nurse champion for every unit, clinic and program on campus. In 2013, twelve teams began the program (eight at University of Colorado Hospital; four at Children’s Hospital Colorado). In three to five years, the hope is that every clinical care area will have its own clinical QSE team.

The teams are trained to unite interdisciplinary and inter-professional members using quality improvement methodology. The QSE team leaders complete a one-year certificate training program with 80 hours of core curriculum leading to the implementation of a mentored quality improvement or patient safety project. Dr. Glasheen’s team helps support the QSE leaders with infrastructure and educational needs, providing dedicated coaching and mentoring as well as process improvement managers and data analysts. Together, QSE team leaders and their support team can map out the essential functions of their units and identify and implement strategies for improvement.

Dr. Glasheen believes it’s imperative for the people doing the work to identify inefficiencies, communication breakdowns, patient bottlenecks and frustrations, and more.

“I’ve seen teams pinpoint very simple and rectifiable issues that can make a major impact through cost reduction, improved quality or improving patient satisfaction,” said Dr. Glasheen. “When individuals are empowered to identify issues, and they have resources enabling them to improve, the entire institution benefits. Our patients are safer and happier.” 

Dr. Glasheen credits his dedicated team for successfully implementing the initial arms of this comprehensive program. It’s his personal goal to facilitate a program that can serve as a model for other institutions that will fundamentally impact and improve quality of care across the nation.

“It’s really cool to see how small changes add up to make massive improvements. The university is at the cutting edge in this area, and our system for change management is sustainable. It’s exciting to see how leaders at all levels develop to improve the patient experience,” said Dr. Glasheen.

The training and development portion was the first step toward implementation of the comprehensive IHQSE strategy. For more information, contact Dr. Glasheen.