Institutional Support | Quality 101

Implementing a successful quality or patient safety initiative requires support from your medical center leadership. To obtain support, you will need to clearly explain how your efforts may enhance quality and safety, improve processes and patient satisfaction, and impact the hospital’s bottom line. A direct communication line to a senior administrative officer, either by a direct reporting structure or by involving a senior administrator on the team, should be in place before taking any next steps in the process.

One suggested approach is enlisting an “executive sponsor” (eg, CEO, CMO, CNO) or administrative champion of the project. This sponsor should receive regular updates on the project (or ideally attend committee meetings) and be an advocate for the project to the hospital leadership. An executive sponsor is invaluable in helping the team focus on critical issues. However, it is equally important that the team understands where it fits in the overall quality improvement structure and priority for the organization. Frequently teams are assembled during a crisis, but need a plan that keeps them connected so that improvements that are made are sustainable and regularly reviewed. It is useful to ask the executive sponsor to whom or what structure your team reports and reviews progress and outlines barriers.

Peer Engagement is equally important and requires building buy-in from colleagues who can support your initiative at a grassroots level and influence others to do the same. Please see the resources below to support successful engagement of colleagues and leaders to help further the quality agenda:

Resources for Creating Institutional Support


  1. Engaging Physicians and Leveraging Professionalism: A Key to Success for Quality Measurement and Improvement
  2. A New Quality Paradigm
  3. Institute for Healthcare Improvement: Innovation Series 2006 Leadership Guide to Patient Safety
  4. Physician/Hospital Alignment Employment Agreements in the Reform Area
  5. A CEO Checklist for High-Value Health Care
  6. Institute for Healthcare Improvement: Engaging Physicians in a Shared Quality Agenda


  1. Engaging the C-Suite: Practical Communication Strategies to Achieve Hospitalist Goals
  2. How to Recognize Excellent Work Without Going Broke: Non-monetary Ways to Recognize Excellence
  3. Leadership Imperative: Building a Culture of Ownership and Engagement
  4. Institute for Healthcare Improvement: Physician Engagement in Quality and Safety

Case Studies:

  1. Mercy Inpatient Medicine Service (MIMS) Hospital Citizenship Incentive Program 2009-2010
  2. Getting a Project Manager for ED Throughput

Sample Letter to Executive Champion:

Click to view the Sample Letter to the Administration