Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

medical staff pulse newsletter

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President's Perspective

By Thomas M. Priselac, President and CEO

Although it's customary in a year-end message to enumerate our many accomplishments during the previous 12 months—and in 2017 Cedars-Sinai had no shortage of notable accomplishments—I'd like to take a different approach and highlight a particular aspect of the institution that doesn't get discussed much.


It's one of our hidden strengths, and has been since 1902. And over the next several years, given the increasingly rapid rate of change in healthcare (and in everything else, for that matter), it will be more important than ever.

Certainly, our more visible strengths are quality, innovation, expertise and compassion. But adaptability has been a key institutional trait that has enabled us to not only survive but flourish during the many changes in healthcare, medicine and society over the past 115 years.

In some cases, we adapted to major, unpredictable changes in medicine and community needs, such as creating a new facility with a dedicated tuberculosis wing in 1910 in response to a dramatic increase in tuberculosis cases. A similar situation occurred more than 70 years later, when we opened one of the nation's first dedicated inpatient AIDS units. Other adaptations have come in response to big changes in the nation's healthcare system. In the 1980s, for example, we adjusted when the federal government began determining Medicare payments based on diagnoses rather than on services provided. In the past few years, through the dedication and efforts of our physicians, nurses, pharmacists and others, we have advanced our clinical efficiency and quality work, ensuring that our patients receive the care they need for an optimal outcome.

Today, throughout Cedars-Sinai, all of you are demonstrating extraordinary flexibility, innovation and collegiality as we adapt to the many fundamental changes in healthcare and the changing needs of consumers and patients. It's not easy, as it requires an open mind, a willingness to re-examine long-held practices and an acknowledgment that “what got us here may not get us there.” But, as our history has shown, the people of Cedars-Sinai are capable of rising to almost any challenge.

Balance, of course, is crucial. If we are constantly trying to adjust to every little change in the breeze, we are likely to lose our way and end up either spinning in circles or stuck at a dead-end. A key to maintaining balance in adaptability is to never lose sight of the big picture. Some refer to this as understanding the difference between signal and noise. In today's always-connected world, with an infinite amount of information at our fingertips, it's crucial to distinguish between a quickly evaporating buzzword-of-the-day and a significant change in the healthcare landscape.

Fortunately, because you work at Cedars-Sinai you already have had great experience differentiating between signal and noise, and navigating and adapting successfully to change. As we look forward together to 2018, these traits will be even more of an asset to Cedars-Sinai's future.

Thank you for the exceptional commitment, compassion and collegiality that each of you brings to Cedars-Sinai every day of the year.