Cedars-Sinai

Medical Staff Pulse Newsletter

Letter From Chief of Staff: CS-Link Efficiency

By Clement C. Yang, MD, Chief of Staff

Our CS-Link™ update is upon us, and I wanted to take this opportunity to inform you about an ongoing educational series known as the CLEAR Initiative (CS-Link Efficiency and Review).

» Read more

Cedars-Sinai Hosts NEJM Catalyst Event

Cedars-Sinai hosted an NEJM Catalyst event in Harvey Morse Auditorium on Jan. 31, which also was broadcast live on the internet to an estimated 6,000 viewers. The event covered three different topics: measuring the right data, using artificial intelligence and machine learning to gather data, and using the right provider incentives to yield the best care metrics and outcomes.

» Read more

Employees in Red Celebrate Women’s Heart Health Day

Hundreds dressed in red turned out for the 14th Annual Linda Joy Pollin Women’s Heart Health Day on Feb. 1. Attendees participated in free blood pressure screenings and cardiac risk assessments, enjoyed a heart-healthy lunch and heard from Cedars-Sinai physicians who led a panel discussion about new medical discoveries in women’s health.

» Read more

A Chat With Our New COO

It’s been nearly six months since Jeff Smith, MD, JD, MMM, left Massachusetts for Los Angeles, assuming the roles of executive vice president of Hospital Operations and chief operating officer for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The Bridge recently sat down with Jeff to talk about his first impressions, his priorities and the future of Cedars-Sinai.

» Read more

Letter From Chief of Staff: Recreation and Entertainment Discounts

By Clement C. Yang, MD, Chief of Staff

Did you know that there is a service available to the medical staff that offers discount tickets and special deals to your favorite entertainment, leisure and family fun activities? Visit the Recreation Connection website.

» Read more

Cedars-Sinai Primary Care Arrives in Santa Monica

To better serve the coastal communities, Cedars-Sinai is expanding its offices at 1919 Santa Monica Blvd., adding a variety of services, including the health system’s first primary care practice in Santa Monica. Already home to an established gastroenterology practice, the coastal location will add specialists in hematology and oncology, neurology, cardiology, and ear, nose and throat in the coming months.

» Read more

Nobel Winner Yamanaka to Speak on Stem Cells

Cedars-Sinai will host a workshop featuring Shinya Yamanaka, MD, PhD, co-winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize for his stem cell discoveries, in association with the International Society for Stem Cell Research annual meeting in June. Research abstracts for the annual meeting are due Feb. 13.

» Read more

New Volunteer Roles for Patients and Family Members

Feedback from patients and their family members is critical to improve patient satisfaction and services across the organization. To broaden opportunities for feedback, Patient Experience is launching two new, volunteer-based roles for patient and family advisors: experience collaborators and committee members.

» Read more

Patient Feedback to Be Focus of Major New Cancer Study

A major new study now underway aims to better incorporate patient feedback into clinical trials that help determine which new cancer treatments will be approved for use. The project, supported by a five-year, $3.4 million grant from the National Cancer Institute, involves statisticians, clinicians and patient advocates.

» Read more

CS-Link Tip: SmartSets and OrderSets

A physician spends a lot of time in the Electronic Health Record, ordering a variety of things including medications, lab tests and referrals. Inside the hospital, we use OrderSets, which group these orders for us. In the ambulatory world, we have SmartSets. After a recent upgrade, you can now save yourself time by saving your personal preferences.

» Read more

Letter From Chief of Staff: CS-Link Efficiency

Dear Colleagues,

Our CS-Link™ update is upon us, and I wanted to take this opportunity to inform you about an ongoing educational series known as the CLEAR Initiative (CS-Link Efficiency and Review).
  • Do you have a CLEAR understanding of the latest CS-Link updates?
  • Are your notes as CLEAR as they could be?
  • Do you want to CLEAR your in-basket?
  • Are you CLEAR on how to use smartphrases?
The CLEAR Initiative meets the second Thursday of every month, usually in the Pavilion PEC 4, 7:30-8:30 a.m.

The next meeting is Thursday, February 14, in the Pavilion PEC-4, 7:30-8:30 a.m.

Light breakfast is available, and the meeting is CME credit-eligible.

Please come to learn more about the new updates. The meetings also provide a great forum for questions, optimization opportunities and general CS-Link help.

Please see the flyer below, and, for more information, or Webex information for remote attendance, contact: GroupEISPhysicians@cshs.org.

Clement C. Yang, MD
Chief of Staff

CLEAR Initiative (PDF)  

Cedars-Sinai Hosts NEJM Catalyst Event

NEJM480px.jpg

President and CEO Thomas M. Priselac welcomes the audience at the NEJM Catalyst event last month.

Cedars-Sinai hosted an NEJM Catalyst event in Harvey Morse Auditorium on Jan. 31, which also was broadcast live on the internet to an estimated 6,000 viewers.

The morning featured a range of prominent healthcare executives, administrators and academics from across the U.S. discussing how to use data analytics to improve care outcomes.

President and CEO Thomas M. Priselac welcomed the audience by sharing his perspective on how data analytics can improve healthcare for everyone.

"We’re living in really unprecedented times—unprecedented change and discovery, the pace of change in both medical care and care delivery," Priselac said. "The emerging capacity that is the focus of today's event, to deploy data analytics—artificial intelligence and all those related technologies—is fueling that rapid change."

The morning covered three different topics: measuring the right data, using artificial intelligence and machine learning to gather data, and using the right provider incentives to yield the best care metrics and outcomes.

In the portion of the program that focused on incentives, John Jenrette, MD, executive vice president, Medical Network, encouraged the crowd to make physicians a central part of this process.

"Make sure the data can be helpful and meaningful to their practice and work they do," Jenrette said.

The NEJM Catalyst series, which focuses on improving the value of healthcare, is produced by the same group that publishes the New England Journal of Medicine.

Employees in Red Celebrate Women’s Heart Health Day

WomensHeartHealth480px.jpg

The 2019 Wear Red group photo.

In recognition of Heart Health Awareness Month, hundreds dressed in red turned out to support the 14th annual Linda Joy Pollin Women’s Heart Health Day event on Feb 1. The annual event is aimed at heightening public awareness about the risk factors of heart disease and how the condition impacts women in particular.

"Today is an opportunity to get educated about your heart health so you can take better care of yourself and your families," said C. Noel Bairey Merz, MD, director of Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center and the Linda Joy Pollin Women’s Heart Health Program in the Smidt Heart Institute.

In addition to posing for a group photo, attendees participated in free blood pressure screenings and cardiac risk assessments, enjoyed a heart-healthy lunch and heard from Cedars-Sinai physicians who led a panel discussion about new medical discoveries in women’s health.

"The average American woman has a 30 to 40 percent lifetime risk of developing cardiovascular disease," said Bairey Merz. "But we can improve those statistics if we change our diet and lifestyle—and take medications like statins when appropriate. We have to help deploy this vital information to the loved ones in our lives."

The discussion was moderated by Amie Mangola, country music singer-songwriter and a patient in the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center.

"Every woman needs to know the facts about women’s heart conditions," said Mangola, who at 35 thought she was suffering from a heart attack. "Because of the education and expert care I received at Cedars-Sinai, I am finally healthy, and happy to share, pregnant."

Also, speaking at the event were: Margo Minissian, PhD, research scientist, cardiology nurse practitioner at the Barbra Streisand Women's Heart Center in the Smidt Heart Institute; Balaji Tamarappoo, MD, PhD, medical director of cardio-oncology in the Smidt Heart Institute, assistant director of research in the Cardiac Imaging Department and associate medical director of the Biomedical Imaging Research Institute; Eynav Accortt, PhD, assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology; and, Janet Wei, MD, cardiologist in the Smidt Heart Institute.

Longtime women’s health advocate Irene Pollin, MSW, PhD (honorary), established the Linda Joy Pollin Women’s Heart Health Program to honor the memory of her daughter and to support women’s heart research and education.

The Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center in the Smidt Heart Institute provides risk assessment, diagnosis and heart disease care at a medical center ranked third in the nation for cardiology and cardiac surgery by U.S. News & World Report.

The Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center is an international leader in research and public education about gender differences in heart disease symptoms, diagnoses and treatments. The center helps women reduce their chances of heart disease through a preventive approach, including state-of-the-art testing.

Although heart disease has killed more U.S. women than men since 1984, most medical research has been focused exclusively on men. Often unaware that they are at risk, only one in five American women believe that heart disease is the greatest threat to their health, according to the American Heart Association.

Research has shown men and women often experience different forms of heart disease. Men who experience a heart attack often feel a tingling in their left arm and chest pain, while women’s symptoms may include extreme fatigue, nausea and back pain.

A Chat With Our New COO

Smith Family480px.jpg

Jeff and Karen Smith are pictured with their children. Front row (from left) are Gavin, Andrew, Benjamin and Marquette.

It’s been nearly six months since Jeff Smith, MD, JD, MMM, left Massachusetts for Los Angeles, assuming the roles of executive vice president of Hospital Operations and chief operating officer for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The Bridge recently sat down with Jeff to talk about his first impressions, his priorities, the future of Cedars-Sinai, and living in Los Angeles with his wife of 20 years, their four sons and their dog, Goofy.

What has impressed you the most about Cedars-Sinai?

Our people and our commitment to our mission continue to amaze me every day. We are an institution with a rich history in the Jewish tradition, and over the decades that has carried through our mission, culture and values. I’m universally impressed by our staff, caregivers and leadership. I’ve spent my entire career working on clinical quality and patient experience in very strong institutions, but we weren’t able to achieve anywhere near the results we’ve seen here. It really comes down to the people.

What do you see as Cedars-Sinai’s strengths and challenges?

Healthcare is a tough place to be right now, but we have an incredible starting point and the right people to achieve superior results. Excellent clinical outcomes and patient experience on a strong financial foundation have positioned us well, but we still need to improve—and we have to do it more quickly than ever before.

Efficiency is one of the biggest challenges we face. A large part of being accessible to the community is being both affordable and available in health plans, and that creates continued pressure to reduce costs. Every healthcare system in the country is facing this dilemma. That is why we are actively engaged in negotiating better prices for supplies, eliminating waste and providing quality outcomes at a lower cost. Our front-line staff will be critical in helping identify opportunities to enhance efficiency.

What are your other priorities in year one?

Patient flow is my top personal priority for the medical center. When we are over capacity, when we have to divert ambulances, when we do not have the capacity to accept patients from other hospitals who require a level of care only we can provide—all of this means we are not fulfilling our mission of being available to the community. Patient flow is critical to quality, patient experience and our financial health, as we need to create capacity to accommodate growth. It’s a complex issue that will require us to work together to drive improvement.

We also need to continue breaking down barriers and silos to deliver better results throughout the organization. With so many great initiatives happening across the institution, we need alignment to accelerate progress. That starts with relationships and collaboration.

You are part of a new wave of leadership at Cedars-Sinai. What does that mean for the institution?

One of our strengths historically is incredible continuity of leadership. But we are now at a critical inflection point. It’s an exciting time for me to be able to come in and benefit from the experience of those who have been here for decades. And I’m committed to further developing our leadership team. We each bring new ideas and experiences that will make our organization stronger. We need to work together so that we can enable front-line staff and caregivers to achieve and perform better.

What are the organization’s plans for Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital?

This is an exciting time for Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital, as we plan for a new replacement hospital on the site and celebrate its 50th anniversary in the community. Since joining Cedars-Sinai health system three years ago, Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital has seen incredible growth, improved quality outcomes and made financial improvements. We continue to make significant investments in the hospital so that we can enhance our presence and expand services in that area.

What is one thing people might be surprised to know about you?

If I wasn’t living in Southern California right now, I’d be in Africa. Before coming to Cedars-Sinai, I seriously considered relocating my entire family there to support medical education in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I am looking forward to another visit to Eastern Africa in February. I’m passionate about not only delivering and improving healthcare here, but also using my experience to help incredibly underserved areas.

What is the single best thing about living in Los Angeles?

That’s easy—I live in a beach city, so I’m there every day!

What’s your favorite part of the Cedars-Sinai campus and why?

Having lived in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Massachusetts, which are currently buried in snow and ice, I love being on the Plaza Level. I appreciate the gardens and the tranquility I feel there.

Letter From Chief of Staff: Recreation and Entertainment Discounts

Dear Colleagues,

Did you know that there is a service available to the medical staff that offers discount tickets and special deals to your favorite entertainment, leisure and family fun activities? Visit the Recreation Connection website.


Clement C. Yang, MD

Chief of Staff

Cedars-Sinai Primary Care Arrives in Santa Monica

Sanmon480px.jpg

Cedars-Sinai’s first primary care office in Santa Monica.

To better serve the coastal communities, Cedars-Sinai is expanding its offices at 1919 Santa Monica Blvd., adding a variety of services, including the health system’s first primary care practice in Santa Monica. Already home to an established gastroenterology practice, the coastal location will add specialists in hematology and oncology, neurology, cardiology, and ear, nose and throat in the coming months.

The primary care practice is home to four seasoned primary care physicians who are currently accepting new patients. Other features of the expanded location include on-site labs and X-rays. Most forms of insurance are accepted, including HMO, POS, PPO and Medicare.

"These enhanced offices are part of our ongoing efforts to meet the growing demand for outstanding, comprehensive healthcare close to where patients live and work," said John Jenrette, MD, executive vice president of Cedars-Sinai Medical Network.

The 1919 Santa Monica Blvd. site also will serve as the new Santa Monica location for The Angeles Clinic and Research Institute, an affiliate of Cedars-Sinai. Their offices will feature a range of prominent cancer specialists and services including hematology and oncology, surgical oncology and subspecialists in breast, lung, urology, gastroenterology and melanoma, among others.

"We've designed a sophisticated space and inviting atmosphere where patients can receive world-class care, but still feel at ease being near home," said Lawrence Piro, MD, CEO of The Angeles Clinic and Research Institute.

The expanded offices—34,000 square feet across four floors—are situated in the heart of Santa Monica, across the street from orthopaedic care at the Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute.

"We hope these offices become a healthcare destination for local patients who want Cedars-Sinai care without traveling across town," said Mary Clare Lingel, vice president of Strategic Integration at Cedars-Sinai Medical Network.

The location is convenient to the adjacent communities of Pacific Palisades, Venice, Brentwood, Mar Vista, Marina del Rey and West Los Angeles. Cedars-Sinai has strengthened its network of services in this area with the acquisition of Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital and the recent additions of primary and urgent care facilities in Culver City and Playa Vista.

"Making quality care more accessible to patients and consumers is part of our mission to the public," said Thomas M. Priselac, Cedars-Sinai president and CEO. "We look forward to serving the coastal communities for many years to come."

Nobel Winner Yamanaka to Speak on Stem Cells

Cedars-Sinai will host a workshop featuring Shinya Yamanaka, MD, PhD, co-winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize for his stem cell discoveries, in association with the International Society for Stem Cell Research annual meeting in June. Research abstracts for the annual meeting are due Feb. 13.

The International Society for Stem Cell Research, with over 4,000 members from more than 60 countries, is a cross-disciplinary, nonprofit organization dedicated to stem cell research. The daylong Cedars-Sinai workshop will be June 25 at Harvey Morse Auditorium, followed by the annual meeting June 26-29 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The workshop, "Advancing Clinical Trials With Stem Cells," is designed for scientists, physicians and those interested in the latest clinical applications of stem cell research. It will feature experts from industry, academics, regulatory agencies and healthcare, including Clive Svendsen, PhD, director of the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute, which is sponsoring the workshop. Yamanaka, from Kyoto University in Japan and Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco, will be the closing speaker. He shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering that mature, specialized cells can be reprogrammed to become immature stem cells capable of developing into all tissues of the body.

Registration for the Cedars-Sinai workshop is due June 23, with a registration fee of $205 for trainee members of the International Society for Stem Cell Research, $225 for full or affiliate members and $245 for nonmembers. The registration fee for the annual meeting, which does not include the workshop fee, ranges from $370 to $1,295 based on membership status and registration date. Regular research abstracts for the annual meeting are due Feb. 13, with a $60 fee. Late-breaking research abstracts may be submitted Feb. 19 to April 10, with a $90 fee.

New Volunteer Roles for Patients and Family Members

Alan-Dubovsky220px.jpg

Alan Dubovsky, chief patient experience officer, is launching new volunteer roles for patients and their family members.

Feedback from patients and their family members is critical to improve patient satisfaction and services across the organization. To broaden opportunities for feedback, Patient Experience is launching two new, volunteer-based roles for patient and family advisors: experience collaborators and committee members.

"We are thrilled to expand how we bring in the patient voice," said Alan Dubovsky, chief patient experience officer. "These direct engagement opportunities will provide valuable insight into areas that may need improvement or better efficiencies."

Four individuals were selected to serve as patient and family advisors (PFAs) on committees—two supporting ambulatory care areas and two supporting inpatient care areas. Every month, PFAs will sit alongside an existing group of Cedars-Sinai leaders, including hospital administration and nursing, to advocate for patient and family needs. The first-time PFAs will join an inpatient care meeting on Feb. 19, and Feb. 28 for ambulatory care.

A total of 16 individuals were selected to serve as patient and family experience collaborators and will come together for the first time on Feb. 13. These meetings, which will be held every other month and facilitated by Performance Improvement, will dive deeper into current processes, then solicit feedback on improvement opportunities. The Feb. 13 meeting will focus on care transitions.

"Until now, we’ve had several patient and family advisory councils, but they represented only a fraction of the departments and services we offer," said Joey Anda, program manager in Patient Experience. "This year, we wanted to elevate and enhance our efforts and give patients new ways to make their voices heard."

Each year, the Patient Experience team distributes surveys to patients treated at Cedars-Sinai, and in 2018, received roughly 134,000 responses. Of these respondents, nearly 1,500 contribute feedback on a more regular basis through an online patient panel. This group was sent an additional survey, asking if they would be interested in coming onsite to collaborate with Cedars-Sinai teams in a more meaningful way. The Patient Experience team received more than 100 willing volunteers.

Before assuming their roles, the 20 selected advisors and committee members will first be onboarded as volunteers through Volunteer Services. This hands-on training will provide a broad, overarching understanding of Cedars-Sinai’s mission and goals and provide context for future discussions.

"These new roles will not only provide that platform, but also allow participants to give back in a more meaningful way," added Dubovsky.

Patient Feedback to Be Focus of Major New Cancer Study

CancerSty480px.jpg

A major new study now underway aims to better incorporate patient feedback into clinical trials that help determine which new cancer treatments will be approved for use.

The project, supported by a five-year, $3.4 million grant from the National Cancer Institute, involves statisticians, clinicians and patient advocates. The team is analyzing data from previous and ongoing clinical trials to design new statistical measurement criteria for assessing how well trial participants tolerate experimental therapies.

"There is a pressing need to include the patient's voice in the evaluation of the toxicity and tolerability of new cancer treatments," said André Rogatko, PhD, director of the Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Research Center. "As a consequence of our work, we expect that the future reporting of results from cancer treatment trials can include better evaluations."

Rogatko is co-leading the study along with Patricia Ganz, MD, professor of Medicine in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

New experimental cancer treatments are raising hopes among clinicians and patients for longer survival times and cures. But clinical trials that test such treatments also need to analyze the impact on patients of potentially harsh side effects, known as adverse events, Rogatko said. These side effects may include pain, fatigue, nausea, heart palpitations, skin reactions, mood changes, memory impairment and sexual dysfunction, among others.

"A big unknown is how adverse events affect patients over longer periods of time, particularly in immunotherapy, in which we only recently are learning about long-term toxicity and how it affects quality of life," Rogatko said. Immunotherapy, which recently has revolutionized how cancer patients are treated, uses substances made by the body or in a lab to help the body's immune system more effectively fight cancer.

"As we continue to improve immunotherapy and now combine it with other therapies to make it more effective, we will have to carefully study side effects so that we design combinations that are both more effective and less toxic. That would be a real advance, and this work will help with reaching this goal," said Dan Theodorescu, MD, PhD, director of Cedars-Sinai Cancer.

In recent years, federal agencies have stressed the importance of increased data collection and scrutiny of adverse events experienced by patients while undergoing cancer treatments. The new study aims to advance that effort.

One goal of the study is to use existing and new methods for describing toxicity to show and foretell adverse events. The second goal is to predict the toxicity in a given clinical trial and whether a patient will complete the treatment.

Investigators are using a toxicity index previously developed by Rogatko plus PRO-CTCAE, a set of patient-reported outcome measures designed by the National Cancer Institute to evaluate symptomatic toxicity in patients in cancer clinical trials. The study takes advantage of data from three ongoing immunotherapy trials and three completed National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project trials.

Although the study's research methods involve highly technical statistical analysis, the emphasis is on improving quality of life for cancer patients, Rogatko said. "We have a chance to give patients more power in how they want to be treated," he explained.

Funding: Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number U01CA232859. The grant was awarded in September, and the study will conclude in August 2023.

Dan Theodorescu, MD, became director of Cedars-Sinai Cancer in 2018. Click here to learn more about his vision and strategy for fighting cancer.

CS-Link Tip: SmartSets and OrderSets

A physician spends a lot of time in the Electronic Health Record, ordering a variety of things including medications, lab tests and referrals. Inside the hospital, we use OrderSets, which group these orders for us. In the ambulatory world, we have SmartSets. You can choose your defaults and create customized OrderSets. Until the recent upgrade, in the clinics you could use SmartSets to facilitate orders, but did not have a way of saving personal preferences. Now you can—save yourself clicks and scrolling by personalizing SmartSets and OrderSets.


To learn more, attend a CS-Link Efficiency and Review for Physician meeting on the second Thursday of each month. The classes, which begin at 7:30 a.m., are held in PEC 4.

If you have questions, contact groupeisphysicians@cshs.org.