Stanford Medicine Center for Improvement
In October 2019, the Stanford Medicine Center for Improvement (SMCI) successfully launched a new website. The goal of SMCI is to become the best at getting better. SMCI seeks to create a community of improvers in all disciplines and at all levels.

Stanford Medicine Center for Improvement (SMCI)

What is SMCI? How did it begin?

The Stanford Medicine Center for Improvement (SMCI) is the realization of the vision of Dean Lloyd Minor, MD, of the Stanford University School of Medicine, to bring together safety, quality, improvement and patient experience leaders across Stanford Medicine with the goal of inspiring and enhancing the delivery of consistent, excellent care. This includes all staff at Stanford Health Care and Stanford Children’s Health, School of Medicine administrative staff and faculty, Valley Care, University HealthCare Alliance (UHA) and Packard Children’s Health Alliance (PCHA). Beginning with the Safety, Quality and Value (SQV) Committee’s work in 2015, the idea for the Center came from the 2017 Stanford Medicine Integrated Strategic Plan. In 2019, a multi-disciplinary work group met from January through July and created the vision and plan for the new Center. The work group submitted the Center application in July 2019, and three months later in October 2019, the Stanford Medicine Center for Improvement (SCMI) was approved and established.

SMCI is guided by the following principles:

  • We create value for patients
  • People are our most valuable resource
  • We strive to be the best at getting better
  • Leaders fostering an environment for improvement

What are the future goals for SMCI?

SMCI aspires to be a place where improvers from all over the world can gather to share knowledge, build relationships, and talk about the future of healthcare improvement. SMCI will offer multi-faceted, interdisciplinary, and web based education resources for improvers and a platform to showcase projects and research in improvement. Venues such as the annual Stanford Academic Lean Conference will provide a platform to make this happen.

Who is involved in SMCI?

SMCI is co-led by Executive Directors Dr. Lane Donnelly, MD and Dr. Karen Frush, MD, both of whom are the Chief Quality Officers of Stanford Children’s Health and Stanford Health Care, respectively. Together, they and the SMCI team are engaging interested parties as affiliates or fellows in SMCI to realize the vision of everyone in the Stanford Community playing a role in improvement in every environment, every day.

SMCI is guided by a prestigious Advisory Committee of local and national improvement experts and thought leaders. SMCI has four primary work groups/committees focusing on Education, Research, Data Analytics and Teamwork.

Pictured from Left to Right: Celina Meza; Terry Platchek; Lane Donnelly; Karen Frush; Nilushka Melnick; Lisa Freeman; David Larson. Not pictured – Ben Elkins.

Why should I join SMCI?

All of us at Stanford Medicine strive to improve our work environment, and the quality and safety of care and want those improvements to last. As a member of SMCI, you will become part of the culture of improvement that enhances the quality and effectiveness capacity within your area.

A Message from CNO Dale E. Beatty, DNP, RN, NEA-BC about SMCI
“We are fortunate to have the Stanford Medicine Center for Improvement (SMCI) as a structure/resources to further enhance our quality and efficiency. Interprofesssional participation and collaboration is critical to assure the acceleration and quality of our improvement efforts. Physicians, nurses, and other professional disciplines are strongly encouraged to actively participate in the SMCI. Together we can collective elevate the quality of care that we provide for our patients, families, and the communities we serve.” 

How do I join SMCI?

SMCI invites EVERYONE to join as we build our community of improvers. We seek to connect improvers across Stanford Medicine in every discipline to solve problems together. We want to break down siloes across organizations, share learnings and tools. You can join SMCI at either the affiliate or fellow level on our website at no cost.

Pictured: Benjamin Elkins

What Improvement resources exist?

The SMCI team communicates and elevates resources such as the Realizing Improvement through Team Empowerment (RITE), Clinical Effectiveness Leadership Training (CELT), Packard Quality Management Systems (PQMS) and Process Excellence tools so they are broadly understood and used across the Stanford Medicine community. You can find out more information about these programs on our website. Additionally, the SMCI team has created an Advanced Course on Improvement Science (ACIS) to be launched in September 2020 to train those interested in advanced improvement science tools and theories and/or a career as an improvement leader. Our website provides links to improvement resources in a variety of disciplines.

Who can I contact if I have questions?

If you have questions about joining SMCI or want to engage in one of our workgroups or committees, please contact Lisa Freeman, Senior Advisor, SMCI, at Thank you!

Article By: Elizabeth (Lisa) Joyce Freeman

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