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HL20: David Fox—Improving Care Through Accountability

Carrie Vaughan, for HealthLeaders Media, December 13, 2011

In our annual HealthLeaders 20, we profile individuals who are changing healthcare for the better. Some are longtime industry fixtures; others would clearly be considered outsiders. Some are revered; others would not win many popularity contests. All of them are playing a crucial role in making the healthcare industry better. This is the story of David S. Fox, CEO Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital.

This profile was published in the December, 2011 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

 "We focused on culture, created standards of behavior, decided to hire people who are a cultural fit, and hold ourselves accountable to how we behave."—David S. Fox

In 2004, Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, IL, determined it wouldn't thrive in the future if it kept to the status quo, says David S. Fox, president. "Our physician satisfaction was mixed. Our quality was perceived as being good, but not distinguishable. Our nursing care was viewed as uneven by physicians; for example, great on unit X but not so good on unit Y.

And our patient satisfaction was mediocre to poor," he says. Good Samaritan also had technology and facilities that were increasingly being perceived by consumers as slipping behind, staff satisfaction that was OK but not exceptional, and a physician hospital organization that was paying physicians 15% less than Medicare rates, Fox says.

So Good Samaritan, under Fox's leadership, launched an initiative called Moving From Good to Great. "The strategic intention was to become the best place for physicians to practice, associates to work, and patients to receive care," says Fox.

At the time, Fox, who comes from family of physicians and grew up working in hospital settings during his summer vacations in Chicago, had no idea that the initiative would help Good Samaritan earn the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

When the good-to-great initiative began in 2004, Good Samaritan did not even know what its physician satisfaction level was, Fox says, because a survey had not been conducted in years. In 2006, physician satisfaction was in the 65th percentile and for the past two years physician satisfaction has been in the 97th percentile.

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