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By Christa Hyson


Leading the way on the journey to high reliability and safe patient care is Brad Mathis, MD, Associate Chief Medical Officer, UC Health. 


The Health Collaborative is proud to honor his work by presenting him with the 2019 Inspire Richard M. Smith MD Leadership in Quality Improvement Award.


First presented in 2003 in memory of Dr. Richard Smith, a tireless leader and proponent of the safety of all patients, this award is given to the individual or team that has gone above & beyond normal job expectations to identify an opportunity to improve patient care and safety. 

Operating under the principles of quality improvement, candidates must have developed and executed a successful intervention supported by evidence. Dr. Mathis has devoted more than 20 years to caring for patients at UC Health and educating medical students at the UC College of Medicine’s Department of Internal Medicine.


Ensuring All Voices Are Heard

“A believer in servant leadership, Dr. Mathis is invested in the innovation and creativity of all, including frontline employees. He finds a way to make sure all voices are heard. For these reasons and more, I am proud to have nominated Dr. Mathis for this prestigious award,” said Evaline Alessandrini, MD, Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer, UC Health. 


His passion for improving the quality of care received by patients led him to pursue his current role of associate chief medical officer. In this role, Dr. Mathis has championed improvement science for UC Health and was instrumental in developing an internal performance improvement program used across the entire health system.


Always focusing on discovery, understanding and continuous improvement, Dr. Mathis helped design a system approach to problem solving, achieving high reliability through habitual excellence and dissemination of best practices. Dr. Mathis was instrumental in helping develop tools and easy-to-follow methodologies to give UC Health employees the best possible roadmap for performance improvement. This approach quickly created positive outcomes and became known as “The UC Health Performance Improvement Way.”

“I am very passionate about leading and coaching interdisciplinary teams to promote healing and reduce suffering in UC Health’s care delivery integrating system.”

Brad Mathis MD

Associate Chief Medical Officer, UC Health

Leveraging Expertise to Share Best Practices

Under Dr. Mathis’ leadership, a multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, data analysts, electronic medical record analysts and performance improvement professionals continue to work alongside operations and clinical leaders to focus on key health improvement initiatives. Included in the scope, was reducing the rate of catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI). Through plan-do-study-act (PDSA) cycles, the team identified high-yield/high-risk interventions that had a major positive impact on outcomes. The team celebrated a 67% reduction in CAUTI for the last fiscal year, resulting in better patient outcomes and a significant reduction in cost.


“I am very passionate about leading and coaching interdisciplinary teams to promote healing and reduce suffering in UC Health’s care delivery integrating system,” shares Dr. Mathis. “Reducing catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) was the first of many improvement projects to find success by providing frontline caregivers with coaching opportunities in alignment with our performance improvement methods.”

Similar work is underway, with Dr. Mathis’ leadership, to address additional health improvement initiatives such as central-line-associated blood stream infections (CLABSI) and fall prevention.


A Sense of Home

Dr. Mathis now uses his expertise in adult learning theory to teach improvement science to a range of UC Health team members, from executive leadership to frontline staff and managers. Coincidentally, Dr. Mathis now hosts many of his leadership and employee lectures on performance improvement just blocks away from where he lived as a medical student years ago. He speaks often of this humbling connection that creates a sense of “home” for him.


Dr. Mathis’ years spent as an educator and passion for improvement work has established him as a leader in UC Health’s Care Delivery Integrating System (CDIS). The CDIS—which structures the health system in a way to build effective interprofessional teams, standardize best practices and optimize information sharing—is just one of the many things UC Health is doing to ensure that staff prioritize, solve problems together, break down barriers quickly and sustain improvement. Dr. Mathis dedicates himself to UC Health’s CDIS, including creating innovative lectures and exercises to help create an environment where change comes easier and performance improvement becomes even more achievable.


The Health Collaborative is proud to honor Brad Mathis, MD, Associate Chief Medical Officer at UC Health, with the 2019 Inspire Richard M. Smith MD Leadership in Quality Improvement Award. His dedication, vision and ongoing effort to improve patient outcomes has us feeling INSPIRED.


Check out our News page to read more about the 2019 Inspire Healthcare Award winners and finalists.