Team engagement and motivation critical to QI success

QI enthusiast to QI leader: Thomas McIlraith, MD, SFHM, CLHM


Thomas McIlraith, MD, SFHM, CLHM, never imagined he would be leading hospitalists and launching quality improvement (QI) initiatives, but only one year out of residency, he was doing just that.

In 2000, Dr. McIlraith had spent a year working as a hospitalist at South Sacramento (Calif.) Kaiser Permanente when he was tapped for the QI program director role.

Dr. Thomas McIlraith of South Sacramento Kaiser Permanente

Dr. Thomas McIlraith

“Obviously I didn’t have a lot of preparation,” he said of that first job as director. “All of a sudden I found myself in charge of 15 hospitalists, … and I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into.”

But a passion for quality improvement – for striving to always find ways to do better – put Dr. McIlraith on that path and kept him on it through two terms as chair of the hospital medicine department of Mercy Medical Group in Sacramento, where he was hired in 2004. He completed his second term in June 2016 (the department quintupled in size during his tenure), and then chose to return to the ranks as a hospitalist focusing on patient care – and on spending time with his kids before they finished high school.


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