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Rachel Seaman, M.D., and Nathan Polite, D.O., will work with existing programs to create and lead projects that drive improvements in quality, safety and patient satisfaction.

Published Jun 21st, 2023

By Carol McPhail

Two USA Health physician leaders, Rachel Seaman, M.D., and Nathan Polite, D.O., have been named chief quality officers for the health system. In their newly created roles, Seaman and Polite will work with existing programs to create and lead projects that drive improvements in quality, safety and patient satisfaction across USA Health.

The move is part of USA Health’s overall effort to become a high reliability organization, said Michael Chang, M.D., chief medical officer for the health system. Seaman will serve as associate chief medical officer/chief quality officer for medicine, and Polite will serve as associate chief medical officer/chief quality officer for surgery.

“Drs. Seaman and Polite will be key leaders in the culture change and implementation of the appropriate structures and processes that will move us in the direction of meeting the definition of high reliability across the health system,” Chang said. “At USA Health, we define high reliability as ‘performance as intended, consistent over time.’”

Seaman, an internal medicine physician and hospitalist, is director of academic hospital medicine for the department of internal medicine, associate program director for the internal medicine residency program, chair of the internal medicine peer review committee, a member of the University Hospital multidisciplinary peer review committee, chair of the performance improvement council at University Hospital, and a member of the serious safety review committee.

“Dr. Seaman has been instrumental in the implementation of numerous operational and administrative initiatives to improve quality and safety,” Chang said.

Among the initiatives was the creation and implementation of a standardized code team – an emergency response team for patients in cardiac arrest – at University Hospital. “This project was started over a year ago and continues today with constant, real-time improvement initiatives,” Seaman said. “It is a true multidisciplinary collaboration to improve care for the most critical of patients.”

Seaman said she is looking forward to the opportunity. “We need to make meaningful investments in quality and safety to reduce inefficiency in order to maximize the care we are providing,” she said. “At USA Health, we have been building a quality mindset. Now we can accelerate to the next level.”

Polite, a trauma emergency general surgeon and surgical intensivist, has served as leader of the performance improvement program within the trauma program at University Hospital for the past two years, the at-large surgical representative for USA Health’s surgical service performance initiative, and a member of the task force on hospital-acquired conditions at University Hospital.

“Dr. Polite has shown himself to be an expert in the areas of event detection, trend analysis, quality case review, and implementation of action plans with loop closure,” Chang said. “His expertise in these areas is demonstrated by our trauma center performing in the top decile of programs nationally in multiple populations of patients.”

USA Health’s trauma program participates in the American College of Surgeons Trauma Quality Improvement Program, which compares the outcomes of trauma patients cared for at the USA Health Fanny Meisler Trauma Center with similar patients treated at other trauma centers around the nation. Semiannual reports from the program have ranked USA Health among the top 10-20% in patient outcomes.

Polite joined the trauma team more than two years ago, bringing prior experience as a trauma medical director at a Level II trauma center in the Atlanta area. He also credits USA Health Trauma Medical Director Jon Simmons, M.D., FACS, and Trauma Program Manager Andrew Haiflich, R.N., M.B.A., for improving the quality of USA Health’s trauma program.

“No matter how good your medical center is, you can learn from each patient encounter to make the experience better for the next patient,” Polite said. “Simply put, I want every patient who comes to USA Health to receive the care I would expect my family to receive. Furthermore, if we can continue to make improvements to streamline our patient care processes, there is no doubt that our hospital staff also will experience the benefits in their workday.”

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