May 26, 2006

Elevate: Answering the Tough Questions

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Medical Center leadership answers the tough questions about what the elevate program is and what it means for the people who work at VUMC.

Question: How much is the Medical Center spending on elevate?

Answer: This year's cost is $1.8 million, including consulting fees and expenses for quarterly management seminars.

To help put this spending in perspective, I would note that total VUMC expenses this year are estimated to reach $1.81 billion, with costs for elevate amounting to one-tenth of one percent of that figure.

Elevate represents a necessary investment from which I expect considerable returns.

By sharpening the focus that VUMC gives to service, quality, satisfaction, growth and finance, I see elevate helping us correct our organization's weaknesses while helping us put its strengths to new advantage; I see it as a practical undertaking with a very high purpose.

We're in this together, and we need to help each other if we're to succeed.

This realization — that none of us works alone — is the starting point for elevate.

We've begun to shape leadership skills across the Medical Center, and teams are aligning their goals with the broader organization. In my judgment, the costs so far have been reasonable.

Organizational development has become a critical activity of every major corporation. We expect to continue our investment. We've created a new, yet unfilled job position — chief learning officer.

In the approaching fiscal year, we'll be able to reduce our reliance on consultants, but we won't lessen the pace of elevate. q

— Harry Jacobson, M.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs