The mention of Utah's own Intermountain was a great source of pride and joy not only because I serve as an Intermountain trustee, but because sitting in a conference center on the Arabian Peninsula I didn't really expect many to know where Salt Lake City was located, let alone be familiar with Intermountain's leadership role in the broader healthcare universe.
Clearly, Intermountain Healthcare's reputation for quality and life-improving outcomes is a secret no longer. Nor is its ability to deliver these outstanding outcomes at costs among the lowest in the nation. The Utah Legislature, in a citation honoring Intermountain this year, estimated a remarkable 40 percent reduction in U.S. Medicare expenditures if other hospitals nationwide delivered healthcare the way Intermountain does. It was gratifying to see our legislature recognize all of Intermountain professionals for their unwavering commitment to "Extraordinary Care in All Its dimensions."
That pursuit of excellence is embodied in Intermountain's Institute for Health Care Delivery Research, which has been working toward the mission of improving quality in healthcare since 1990. Over 5,000 professionals from around the world have come to Salt Lake over the years to complete its Advanced Training Program. I met a number of them in Doha. When I introduced myself, they would say: "You are Brent's people." "Yes I am," was my response.
They were referring to Dr. Brent James, Intermountain's Chief Quality Officer. For many years now, health professionals in the United States have been aware of Dr. James and Intermountain's institute. In a 2009 New York Times story, the CEO of Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute was quoted as saying for anybody interested in improving the quality of health care, the Institute's Advanced Training Program is "the equivalent of Harvard."
But back to my original point: To a person, the leaders at Intermountain with whom I have shared my story from Doha first say, "Thank you," followed immediately by words like, "We have a lot more room to improve." Evidently, the people behind world-class organizations are humble and never lose sight of their mission to continuously improve.
We Utahns are truly fortunate to have this world-class group of caring professionals looking after our health and well-being.
I think my use of "world class" in this instance is utterly appropriate.
Shahab Saeed is an Intermountain Trustee and vice president and chief operating officer of Questar Energy Services and Questar InfoComm.