The University of Texas Medical School at Houston
The University of Texas Medical School at HoustonThe University of Texas Medical School at Houston
The University of Texas Medical School at Houston
March 6, 2009 | from the Office of Dean Giuseppe Colasurdo

Distributed on Fridays via e-mail to all Medical School employees, students, residents, and postdoctoral fellows, UT 2 Me is Dean Giuseppe Colasurdo's weekly update of news and items of interest. He also welcomes feedback through this two-way communication.

This week marks the start of a new series for UT 2 Me. In this guest-column series you will hear directly from the leaders of our partners, administrative offices, and departments. As always, feel free to send questions my way, which can be addressed in a future issue. In today’s guest column, Juanita Romans, CEO of Memorial Hermann – Texas Medical Center, answers my seven questions.

  1. What are the top three objectives of your institution?

Memorial Hermann – Texas Medical Center is the flagship hospital of the Memorial Hermann Healthcare System. The system brand promise is to create the best possible clinical outcomes with exceptional patient care experiences.

At Memorial Hermann – TMC, our vision builds on the System’s vision, but ties back to the academic nature of our hospital. We are committed to being a leading academic tertiary referral center for the Houston region, with a strong focus on landmark research that will drive clinical breakthroughs.

Our top objectives are to achieve exceptional outcomes in quality, operational excellence, and customer experience in a teaching environment.

  1. How do the goals of your institution support the mission and goals of the Medical School?

There is significant overlap between the mission and goals of the Medical School and those of Memorial Hermann-TMC. We are both committed to providing exceptional clinical care, to teaching the next generation of healthcare professionals, and to pursuing innovative research.  In addition, we both have missions to support the local and regional communities through our efforts, which require us to maintain high levels of stewardship over the resources provided to us.

Programmatically, we are constantly looking for opportunities to grow into the most cutting-edge fields of medicine. These efforts are conducted in coordination with the school’s efforts to provide educational and research opportunities to develop those fields.

  1. What are you doing differently in your institution this year? What is new?

We are always looking for new and different ways to provide care to our patients and support the needs of our physician partners. One of the most refreshing differences is a renewed spirit of collaboration between the hospital leadership and the leadership in the Medical School. This collaboration is most visible in the development of new clinical programs, including the Mischer Neuroscience Institute, and the development of the Oncology and GI programs. 

In our operations, this collaboration has helped to drive many process improvements. For example, in the OR, our surgeons helped to redesign the allocation of rooms across specialties to more efficiently match the needs of the surgeons with the available capacity. The joint development of the Physician Leadership Academy represented a broader effort to collaboratively address quality and safety performance improvement opportunities across the hospital.  The Academy’s second class is scheduled to begin this spring.

In December 2008, we opened a new Neurotrauma Intensive Care Unit. This state-of-the-art unit has 32 beds, and is part of our broader efforts to grow the Mischer Neuroscience Institute at Memorial Hermann-TMC. In addition, we have continued the move toward an electronic medical record through the adoption of Advanced Care 4, which is a major step forward in electronic documentation.

  1. What role will your institution play in the future of the Medical School?

Our futures are intertwined in the sense that our individual institutional success or failure will be tied to our ability to collaborate effectively.  Together we will develop new programs, recruit new physicians, improve the culture of quality and patient safety, and ensure the educational model meets the needs of the next generation of healthcare leaders.

  1. How can our physician-faculty help you?

In the spirit of two-way communication, I would like to receive their feedback. Feedback is critical to involving faculty in the decision-making process, and the annual Memorial Hermann physician survey is one way that can be provided. I encourage all of our physicians to take the time to complete the survey because we want to hear from them.

  1. Which accomplishments of your institution are you most proud?

Our quality improvement efforts have taken us from a relatively average ranking (64th) amongst the nation’s Academic Medical Centers (UHC) to our most recent ranking of 6th in the nation in 2008. This improvement and national recognition is a testament to the persistent of all of the members of the patient care teams at Memorial Hermann-TMC.

  1. Other stories / opportunities / challenges you would like to share?

The greatest challenge that we continue to face is finding the most effective ways to communicate between the hospital and the Medical School. In spite of the best intentions on both parts, there is so much information and so many people to inform, that too often important messages are missed. 

While we are always looking to improve in this area, we have had significant successes as well. A great example of strong communication occurred during Hurricane Ike. The leadership of the hospital and the school were in close contact throughout that event to ensure that we had the right people in place to take care of patients. Our communication and collaboration throughout the hurricane and in the weeks that followed helped to solidify the spirit of partnership between the hospital and the Medical School.

Thank to you to Juanita for sharing her insights with us.

Have a great weekend,


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