Monday, December 15, 2008

Sprint to the Summit

Greetings and Welcome
Just Back from The Institute for Healthcare Improvements 20th National Forum.

It was the twentieth anniversary of IHI. Once again the room was filled with a renewed hope for the future. In his plenary speech Don Berwick called for action to seek what is possible to achieve health for all.
He read two letters to his daughter Jessica who is training to be a doctor just like many of you who are training to serve as the healers of tomorrow. The letters are to be opened on the fortieth anniversary, in twenty more years.

One letter was filled with words of defeat and an apology to Jessica for letting her down. The letter said it was “too hard” to make things better. It was filled with the realities of the barriers we face every day while trying to do the right thing. It was a sad reminder of how easy it would be to turn away from what is possible and focus on mastering the current system.

The second letter was one of hope and told a story of vision, hard work, and perseverance. He told Jessica “it wasn’t easy…we almost lost hope that would have been easy to do…but we didn’t turn around, we went faster”. Letter to Jessica

He introduced the Improvement Map IHI Improvement Map and Dr Atul Gawande joined Dr Berwick asking us to “sprint”. Dr Gawande asked that hospitals try using the World Health Organization’s Surgical Checklist in the next 90 days and provide feedback. What a great concept to sprint toward a safer experience for the people we serve!
Three new interventions were added to the already twelve interventions in the five million lives campaign.

· WHO Surgical Safety Checklist
· Prevent Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections
· Link Quality and Financial Management: Strategies to Engage the Chief Financial Officer and Provide Value for Patients

As I assume my new role as the Chief Operations Officer I ask that you join me in the ‘sprint’, to go faster toward improvement and transformation. When we are told we can’t be the best and create a system that will allow the young healers of tomorrow to fulfill our mission, we must understand that fear and status quo drive that belief. Join me in envisioning safe, effective, efficient, timely, patient centered and equitable health care for everyone. Together we can find ways to move from great ideas to action. Let us find new ways to reach those in the most need. Please share with me your thoughts on how we can best serve our community and how we can contribute and collaborate with our partners across the nation and around the world to ensure no one is left behind.

I look forward to the days ahead.


“People are hungry you know and one good word is bread for a thousand. We baked the bread Jessica. You’re welcome. Here’s one good word, Joy. Love Dad”
- Don Berwick. IHI 20th National Forum. Nashville Tennessee. December10, 2008


  1. Congratulations on your new role Anna! It appears the IHI National conference was as inspiring as always. I look foward to "sprinting" along side of you!

  2. Hi Anna:
    Thanks for the synopsis of stories from IHI.
    I look forward to contributing stories of hope to whomever we at CCHS will influence 40 years from now.
    Troy Kaji

  3. Thank you for bringing these ideas and discussions into the "public square". These are important concepts that should be promoted throughout the Health Services department.

    I hope you will allow us to share your thoughts with the entire CCHS community via cross-posting of this blog on iSITE.

    Information Systems has recently initiated a similar effort that is available on our iSITE homepage or at

    Marc Miyashiro
    CCHS Information Architect

  4. Congratulations, Anna, on your new position within CCHS!
    I look forward to standing on the sidelines and witnessing you help lead CCHS in the "sprint" towards healthcare improvement. This blog is a great way for you to share your thoughts and update everybody involved in CCHS on events and etc, and I hope that you keep up the good posts.