Gautham Suresh, MD, DM, MS, FAAP, is Section Head and Service Chief of Neonatology at Texas Children’s Hospital, and Professor of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine. He also is an Attending Neonatologist at Texas Children’s Hospital. He is chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics program, Education in Quality Improvement for Pediatric Practice (EQIPP). He is also an Associate Editor for the Neonatal Review Group of the Cochrane Collaboration. After his fellowship in neonatology at the University of Vermont, he served as a faculty member there and was a postgraduate fellow at the Vermont Oxford Network. He has worked closely with the Vermont Oxford Network for many years, as a faculty member of the Vermont Oxford Network’s quality improvement collaborative, the Neonatal Intensive Care Quality (NICQ) project, and as an advisory board member for NICQ. He has set up and directed several educational courses on patient safety, on evidence-based medicine and on communication in healthcare.
He is a graduate of the Masters Program at The Dartmouth Institute of Health Policy and Clinical Practice (previously called the Center for Evaluative Clinical Sciences) where his concentration was Continuous Quality Improvement in Healthcare.
He previously worked in Lebanon, New Hampshire, where he was faculty at The Dartmouth Institute, at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, and a neonatologist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, New Hampshire. At Dartmouth-Hitchcock he served as the Medical Director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Program Director for the Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine fellowship, Associate Program Director and coach for the Leadership Preventive Medicine Residency, and member of the Clinical Ethics Committee.
His interests include patient safety, healthcare quality improvement, evidence-based decision making, translation of research into practice, ethics, humanism in medicine, and organizational culture and leadership in healthcare. He is the author of several peer reviewed scientific publications, presentations and book chapters on quality improvement, patient safety and evidence-based medicine, including Cochrane systematic reviews.
In addition to implementing quality improvement projects on individual clinical or operational topics, leaders of a neonatal unit should strive to improve the unit in a holistic manner, using a structured framework such as ‘Good to Great’ (J. Collins). The key elements of such holistic improvement are – leadership; careful personnel selection; nurturing of joy in work; linking activities to the forces that drive organizations (revenue, regulation, reputation, risk, research, patient outcomes); acceptance of current deficiencies while simultaneously believing that improvement will occur; disciplined focus on the core mission and priorities; improving unit culture; managing change thoughtfully; and persistence as slow, small gains eventually lead to significant improvement. Such an approach can shift a unit from a vicious cycle of quality into a virtuous one that results in improved patient outcomes, greater professional satisfaction, and decreased healthcare costs.
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