WIHI: What's in a Name? Health Care's Chief Quality Officer

Date: January 25, 2018


  • David M. Williams, PhD, Executive Director for Improvement Capability, Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI)
  • Petrina McGrath, RN, MN, PhD, Executive Transition Lead: People, Practice and Quality, Saskatchewan Health Authority
  • James Moses, MD, Chief Quality Officer and Vice President of Quality and Safety, Boston Medical Center

Health care systems are under tremendous pressure to create and sustain transformative changes on multiple fronts: patient and worker safety, overall quality of care, moving from volume to value, and population health, just to name a few! The job of overseeing these efforts, and nurturing the culture and vigilance required to stay on track, is increasingly the province of the Chief Quality Officer or CQO.

In many ways, the CQO functions as symbol, sense maker, and keeper of the flame for constant, unwavering, system-level change. The CQO also often marries quality aims with an organization's financial and strategic goals. He or she cannot spearhead these efforts alone, and field research suggests that having a designated CQO position sends the message to staff that leadership takes quality seriously.
The CQO role is relatively new and still evolving​; in some organizations CQO-like responsibilities reside with an Executive Vice President, CMO, or CNO. Regardless of who is serving in this leadership position, it's important to ask: What do CQOs need to focus on most? We learned how some CQOs define their roles and priorities on the January 25 WIHI: What's in a Name? Health Care's Chief Quality Officer. ​​​​​
Average Content Rating
(2 users)
Please login to rate or comment on this content.
User Comments