A new center dedicated to developing and translating innovation in the delivery of health care has been established at Keck Medical Center of USC.

The USC Center for Health Systems Innovation (CHSI) will focus on turning research and education into measurable and sustainable improvements in outcomes and experience for patients and staff. It will be led by Executive Director Carol Peden, MD, MPH, a professor in the Department of Anesthesiology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

“This is about bridging the gap between innovation and implementation, to deliver health care safely, effectively and efficiently, while ensuring the best possible patient and staff experience,” Peden said. “The center will focus on a very practical approach. We will use the wealth of resources across the university, harnessing the knowledge and skills of many of USC’s schools to better design and deliver care.”

The center will facilitate faculty-led research projects and create new interdisciplinary programs in health care quality improvement. By January 2017, the CHSI will establish fellowships in health systems innovation for medical and non-medical graduate students.

Peden, an anesthesiologist and intensive care physician, joined Keck Medicine of USC in September from the United Kingdom, where she gained extensive experience in leading local and national improvement projects. She is a believer in data for improvement and developed a national database for emergency surgery outcomes. Peden chaired the executive board of Global Comparators, a group of 44 of the world’s leading institutions that share data for improvement.

Peden said her commitment to improving care across health systems stemmed from her clinical work as a physician.

“Through my work as an intensive care doctor, I sometimes saw critically ill patients in whom a simple step earlier in their pathway could have prevented disease progression,” she recalled. “The enormous challenge of recovering from critical illness for the patient and their family could have been avoided. I started to think about the whole system of health care more.”

CHSI developed from a partnership among several USC schools, including the Viterbi School of Engineering, the Pacific Center for Health Policy and Ethics, along with the faculty in anesthesiology. Peden plans to build on these relationships and foster further partnerships across USC to envision, design and develop new ways of caring, and to provide the strategy and tools to ensure successful delivery in the complex environment of health care.

“CHSI’s strength will be the academic input from USC, but the center will be of real relevance to the health system,” Peden said. “It will be integrated into patient care and dedicated to improving the experience for everyone in the health system, both our patients and our staff.”

Peden was previously associate medical director for NHS England, responsible for clinical quality for 13.5 million people. Her expertise in improvement was developed as a fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in Boston. She has also developed improvement and leadership courses for institutions such as the University of Oxford and University College London.

— Douglas Morino