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CONVERSATION Change Agent As the landscape of American healthcare continues to shift, UCLA will embrace new opportunities to lead the nation in improving patient safety and the quality of care delivery. Dr. Robert A. Cherry is steering that drive. Dr. Robert A. Cherry Chief Medical and Quality Officer UCLA Health System When the phone call came asking Robert A. Cherry, MD, if he might be interested in becoming UCLA Health’s chief medical and quality officer to lead system-wide quality-improvement efforts, his response was immediate. “I didn’t even have to think about it,” he says. “UCLA has such a great reputation, and I was instantly intrigued with the opportunity. I was very impressed with the degree of enthusiasm and passion about quality and safety. It was an easy decision.” Dr. Cherry, who trained as a critical-care and trauma surgeon, was appointed to the newly created position in January 2014. Before coming to UCLA, he served as director of clinical and operational excellence at Navigant Consulting, in Chicago, Illinois, where he was responsible for the strategic development and implementation of such key healthcare initiatives as the early adoption of accountable-care-organization models, physician- integration strategies and enhancement of quality and safety systems. He also served as chief medical officer and vice president for clinical effectiveness at Loyola University Medical Center, outside of Chicago. Becker’s Hospital Review named him among the “100 Hospital and Health System CMOs to Know.” Dr. Cherry spoke about his vision for UCLA’s role as a world leader to shape the future of healthcare delivery with U Magazine contributing writer Dan Gordon. How do you define quality, and what’s the basis of your strategy for promoting quality within UCLA Health? 14 U MAGAZINE Dr. Robert A. Cherry: Quality can mean different things to different people. And there are so many metrics and initiatives that it can be difficult to communicate within large, complex organizations what we need to achieve in order to be successful. That is why I’ve been articulating a quality strategy, called MOVERS TM , as a way to provide a structured framework for positive change. It’s an acronym with six buckets that represents the overall quality strategy for UCLA Health. Within each bucket, we have initiatives to move the needle forward. The idea is that everyone here is a change agent for safety and quality; everyone contributes to the overall quality strategy and is part of the fabric that makes up our safety culture. What does MOVERS TM stand for? Dr. Cherry: The M is for reducing risk-adjusted mortality. Right now we’re especially centered on reducing mortality rates related to sepsis, as well as integrating early-warning systems and intervening rapidly before a patient gets into real trouble. O stands for outcomes. We’re focused on a variety of publicly reported metrics in areas ranging from inpatient surgical care to outpatient population- health measures. Where there are specialty-specific metrics, we encourage individual departments and clinical-service lines to pursue those outcome measures as well. V is for value — delivering optimal care while also being responsible stewards of our limited resources. Consumers, employers and health plans are increasingly looking at that. So that bucket is about redesigning the clinical care in a way that