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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
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
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