Dr. Robert Collins has dedicated his life to improving the care and treatment of patients at Greater Cincinnati’s TriHealth hospital system. By all accounts, his innovative approach and commitment to excellence have extended far beyond compassionate patient care, shaping and guiding the teams and systems operations that fell under his leadership.
Dr. Collins, who last month retired from his post as Senior Vice President of Quality and Chief Medical Officer at TriHealth, is winding up his tenure with panache after being named as a finalist for the 2017 Richard M. Smith MD Leadership in Quality Improvement Award. Dr. Collins oversaw Clinical Quality at Bethesda North Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital, Hospice of Cincinnati, TriHealth Evendale Hospital, and Bethesda Butler Hospital, in addition to two freestanding TriHealth emergency rooms. His retirement follows 34 exemplary years as both a clinician and outstanding medical administrator.
“Bob Collins demonstrated the perfect blend of passion, compassion, and effectiveness over his entire career,” says colleague Craig Eisentrout MD. “He has been a friend and a mentor to me for the entire time I have known him. He taught me more about leadership than any other physician I have known.”
About the award
First presented in 2003 in memory of Dr. Richard Smith, a tireless leader and proponent of the safety of all patients, the Richard M. Smith MD Leadership in Quality Improvement Award recognizes an individual or team who exemplifies commitment to quality improvement, makes it an organizational priority, and serves as a role model for those working to enhance the quality of care within their organization and throughout the community. The award is presented by The Health Collaborative, a Cincinnati healthcare improvement nonprofit, at its annual dinner and awards ceremony known as Inspire Healthcare – set this year for November 1 at the downtown Renaissance Hotel.
A legacy of improvement and leadership
Since joining the medical staff of Bethesda Hospitals and Good Samaritan Hospital in 1983, Dr. Collins has served as both Chairman, Department of Surgery; and Chairman, Division of Vascular Surgery at Bethesda North Hospital. Beginning in 2005 he served as Executive Medical Director, and transitioned in 2008 to Vice President of Medical Affairs at Bethesda North Hospital. In 2012, he took on system-wide responsibilities as the Vice President of Medical Affairs for the TriHealth Hospitals until his selection as Senior Vice President of Quality and Chief Medical Officer in 2015.
Dr. Collins has been at the forefront of developing and implementing major initiatives that have helped transform how medicine is practiced at TriHealth – and how leadership decisions are made. The effects of this work have benefitted literally hundreds of thousands of patients and thousands of TriHealth associates.
Among these initiatives is a significant new Clinical Quality and Patient Safety Strategic Plan now being implemented at TriHealth. The plan is essential toward delivering TriHealth’s strategic goal of seamlessly integrating care and “to be where people want to work, where physicians want to practice, and most importantly, where the community wants to go when they need the best quality, service, safety, and value in healthcare.”
The plan develops a full partnership between physicians and administrative/operational leaders, and shares responsibility for decision-making, execution of system strategy, and quality initiatives fundamental to delivering high quartile patient outcomes.
At the clinical level, a companion initiative Dr. Collins led was the development and oversight of a major hospitalists program for both Bethesda North and Good Samaritan Hospital. This effort bridged the gap between patients’ primary physicians or specialists, and the hour-by-hour care delivered in a hospital setting.
Dr. Collins also implemented and oversaw a Leadership Development Program for TriHealth physicians. In coordination with his clinical leadership team, Dr. Collins has operationalized TriHealth clinical quality strategies at the department, service line, and unit level. He has helped establish policies, programs, and processes which ensure the consistent clinical practices and evaluation of patient and support services throughout the entire TriHealth system.
Dr. Collins attributes much of TriHealth’s widely-regarded, high-quality reputation to strong medical leadership teams. Many key physicians worked with Dr. Collins throughout his clinical and administrative tenure and he credits their commitment to excellence for TriHealth’s strong and stable growth as a preferred, often innovative, healthcare provider.
To do so, Dr. Collins formed the System Chief infrastructure – deploying new physician leaders, by specialty, with responsibility for their specialty across all practice sites and hospitals. This structure unifies clinical leadership across TriHealth and standardizes system-wide clinical best practices to improve care, improve health and create greater value for patients – essential for addressing new population health management realities.
Respected, trusted, and recognized
“Bob always was and remains a true gentleman,” said David Kirkpatrick MD. “All of Bob’s patients and the team members in the operating room, the nursing staffs, all still speak fondly of him ten years after he performed his last surgery. I have never encountered another individual who is so universally respected for his integrity.”
In addition to his 2017 Richard M. Smith MD Leadership in Quality Improvement Award finalist status, later in November Dr. Collins will be recognized as one of the 2017 Men of Honor, a Salute to African American Men. Now in its eighth year, Men of Honor provides an opportunity for the Cincinnati community to celebrate the accomplishments of extraordinary African American men in Greater Cincinnati who have achieved greatness.
Jill Miller, President of Bethesda Inc., isn’t surprised to see Dr. Collins receiving such accolades. “Dr. Collins is a dear colleague, advisor, and friend, and one of the wisest, most caring, and humble physicians I have ever met. He is an irreplaceable physician and leader who will be missed by our community and throughout TriHealth. He is passionate about his community and about health equity, which is demonstrated by his generous volunteer service to programs like Health Care Access Now.”
Dr. Collins is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine. He completed his General Surgery Residency, Fellowship in Vascular Surgery and Renal Transplantation at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, New York, NY. He practiced General and Vascular Surgery from 1983-2006 with Queen City General and Vascular Surgeons Group in Cincinnati.
Please join The Health Collaborative Executive Team and staff in congratulating Dr. Robert Collins, 2017 Richard M. Smith MD Leadership in Quality Improvement Award Finalist.
About Inspire | Healthcare:
Inspire | Healthcare is the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region’s premier annual healthcare event and awards celebration. The awards seek to recognize innovations by individuals, teams, and/or organizations in the areas of informatics, quality improvement, and population health. Other awards given annually include the Inspire Champion Award and the Hoxworth Blood Drive Awards, with separate nomination and judging processes. For more information about Inspire | Healthcare, visit healthcollab.org/inspire.
About The Health Collaborative:
The Health Collaborative strives to lead data-driven improvement initiatives that result in healthier people, better care, and smarter spending. Based in Cincinnati, we work with those who provide care, pay for care, and receive care, to find mutual solutions to healthcare’s most challenging problems. For more information about The Health Collaborative, visit healthcollab.org.