Dr. Dan Simon sets the bar at Case Medical Center at the ‘awesome’ level — and strives to achieve

Three short phrases make up Dr. Dan Simon’s vision as the new president of University Hospitals Case Medical Center.

Healthy community. Exceptional medicine. Better world.

“We have a fundamental responsibility, a 150-year history of optimizing community health,” Simon says about University Hospitals sesquicentennial this year. “However, we want to impact the future of medicine. We do that by the concept of exceptional medicine, which relates to leveraging innovation and discovery to change the standard of care medicine.”

Lastly, within the confines of exceptional medicine is the academic medical obligation to train the next generation of leaders, he says.

Case Medical Center is the primary affiliate of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and is the academic medical center of the University Hospitals Health System. Its main campus encompasses UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, UH MacDonald Women’s Hospital and UH Seidman Cancer Center.

Simon received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School. He began at UH in 2006 as the director of the UH Harrington Heart and Vascular Institute and has been president of the institute since 2014.

Differentiation is important

While there are current challenges in the health care environment such as value-based case and declining reimbursements, he says another challenge the academic medical center faces is differentiating itself from a community hospital.

“Community hospitals are focused on care delivery,” he says. “But it is not the care focused on changing its standard.”

That type of care comes from an environment of physician investigators who leverage discovery and innovation to bring about change. Simon uses three examples that are unique to Case Medical Center:

  • Jonathan Miller and a group of other physicians focused on deep brain stimulation for memory in patients with traumatic brain injury.
  • Mark Griswold and his team have developed a way to use MRI information to diagnose and identify anatomically where there can be prostate cancer.
  • Marco Costa completed the first minimally invasive left ventricular restoration therapy using a device called a CardioKinetix Parachute, which was performed in the catheterization laboratory while the patient was awake. This formerly was a surgical operation.

Raising the bar

When thinking about the impact he would like to make on the Case Medical Center, Simon again has a simple answer: “I spend a lot of time talking about being better; it’s about setting a really high bar to improve performance in whatever it is that you do. That includes striving to be extraordinary or exceptional, to try to aspire to be better than great, which is awesome. We want to be in the top 10 percent in patient satisfaction.

“Case Medical Center was the 2012 AHA-McKesson Quest for Quality Prize winner, and it took a lot of work to get there. It takes a lot of work to maintain it, and we believe we can turn it now to patient satisfaction. It is a high bar to reach, but that’s all part of the better performance in reaching for awesome.”

How to reach: Case Medical Center or (216) 844-1000 or www.uhhospitals.org/case

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