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ORAL HISTORY: Interview with health care quality expert Paul Batalden, M.D.

(Chicago, IL, August 26, 2014) The Center for Hospital and Healthcare Administration History announces a new publication in the Hospital Administration Oral History series:

  •  Paul B. Batalden, M.D., in First Person: An Oral History

Had Paul Batalden not picked up The New York Times on a May Sunday in 1981 and read a profile about W. Edwards Deming, the application of quality improvement principles to the health care field might have been very different. The newspaper article prompted Dr. Batalden to attend one of quality expert Deming’s seminars—a physician in an audience composed primarily of engineers. At first, it was not clear that there was any applicability of insights or techniques that had been developed in the manufacturing setting, but Dr. Batalden came to realize that there was great opportunity for these ideas in health care.

In this oral history, Dr. Batalden recounts his early connections with Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Jr., at the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), who provided him with the first large-scale opportunity to put these concepts to the test. The quality group at HCA later worked cooperatively with the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, to begin to share the lessons learned with a wider group.

Dr. Batalden’s initial forays into disseminating these new ideas were targeted at health professionals already practicing, but he came to realize the value of teaching these quality concepts earlier in the health professional’s career. He accepted an offer to teach at Dartmouth. In this oral history, Dr. Batalden reminisces about the founding of the Dartmouth Institute, the publication of the Dartmouth Atlas, and the contributions of the many individuals who became enthusiastic about these new quality concepts, both in the United States and abroad.

Source: Garber, K.M., editor. (2014). Paul B. Batalden, M.D., in First Person: An Oral History. Chicago: American Hospital Association.  Click here for access to the full text at no charge: http://www.aha.org/chhah.

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