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Medical Staff Pulse is
a Publication of the Chief of Staff
2 Minutes with...Michael Shabot MD
Dr. M. Michael Shabot, director of Surgical Intensive Care and associate director of the Dept. of Surgery, takes a look back at his 24 years at Cedars-Sinai before leaving to take a new position in January as vice president and Chief Quality Officer at Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston.

How would you describe the changes that have taken place since you joined Cedars-Sinai in 1982?

The medical center has grown in many ways. It has certainly grown in size; it has grown in the number and the depth of its programs, and it has grown tremendously in areas of improved patient care -- including quality of care and safety. And the systems that are operating in the hospital have markedly changed and improved, all for the benefit of patient care in the time that I've been here.

You have held a number of positions at the medical center. What have you found to be the most rewarding?

It's hard to choose. I've been chief of the surgical ICU for all the time I've been here and that has been a continuously enjoyable job, and I really love critical care. That became my half-time job in 1997 when I became medical director of information services to help further the electronic record rollout at Cedars-Sinai. That's been very enjoyable. In 2002, I became chief of staff because I thought the work was important, and I also found that highly rewarding. It was in the aftermath of being chief of staff that I realized I wanted to work at the executive level of a health system. In a way, that led to my new job with Memorial Hermann.

What will you miss the most?

Well, it would have to be the people. I feel like I know at least a thousand people here on a first-name basis, and it may be closer to 2,000. I know everyone from the lead executives to probably half of our 2,000 doctors and many of our technical, nursing and administrative and support personnel. I probably won't ever be as close to so many people in a job as I am here, and I'm going to miss that quite a bit. I know everyone from the reception staff to the chairman of the board, and I like every one of them.

Is there anything you won't miss?

The administrivia.

Administrivia?

Yes. All one word. It's the administrative paperwork -- such as reporting on the individual hours of how I spent my day.

Based on your experience, what advice would you give a new physician coming on staff in 2007?

I would say that the secret for success is to work productively with your medical colleagues and with all the personnel at the hospital -- the nurses, the pharmacists and so on -- and to take advantage of the many opportunities that Cedars-Sinai offers to enhance your practice. And those opportunities are really countless.

We have so many programs. If we took a surgical program, such as neurosurgery or minimally invasive surgery, you might think, "Oh, there's a great opportunity for a neurosurgeon or a minimally invasive surgeon," and that's true. But the reality is that the complexity of patients who come to a tertiary and quaternary center like Cedars-Sinai means that many other physicians need to be involved. Many patients, if not most of them, wind up needing other specialties of care. To the extent that a new physician makes him or herself available, aligns with these opportunities and provides high quality care, there is a tremendous opportunity for growth in their practice.

So it's different from just hanging out a shingle and hoping somebody will come to the office. Today our census is 850 and there are simply no beds to put anybody. What does that mean? It means that the hospital is bursting at the seams, and there are opportunities everywhere.

Is there any other message you would like to convey?

I would like to express my appreciation to the staff of the hospital, including the support staff, the nursing staff and the executive staff, for making Cedars-Sinai the highest quality hospital it is. This is what attracted me to Cedars-Sinai in 1982 and it's certainly been what's kept me here all this time. The message I would leave is that everything I learned about quality, safety and the delivery of the highest possible quality care, I learned right here. I'm very thankful for everything that I've learned from all the staff and hope to carry that good work forward in another health system.