Entrepreneurs in Healthcare


Quinton J. Friesen

Service Excellence

Editors’ Note

Quinton Friesen joined the Greenwich Hospital senior leadership team in 1993. Prior to Greenwich Hospital, Friesen was the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital Medical Center in Plattsburgh, New York. Friesen holds a Masters degree in Healthcare Administration from the University of Minnesota. He is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

How do you define your role and key areas of focus at Greenwich Hospital?

My focus operationally is on how we provide extraordinary care to every patient that we serve. We need to provide care in an efficient and safe manner providing service excellence in everything we do. The overriding vision is to build, together with our President and CEO, Frank Corvino, and the other members of the administrative staff, an extraordinary organization.

Is the opportunity to run with new ideas key to the hospital’s culture, and is there an entrepreneurial spirit present?

There is. When we first started, we focused on building a mission, vision, values, and goal statement for the hospital. Then we took that example and built that in every department; we had 60 teams and about 600 employees involved in putting that together. The whole idea was to tie the organization together around the values that we hold. One of our values is people, and that has guided our decision-making process even to the recent reduction in force that we had. We agonized over how we could reduce the staff fairly and appropriately and cause minimum disruption in the organization, while also treating the employees who were leaving with dignity and respect. Another value is innovation. Our employees have spontaneously come up with hundreds of ideas on how we can run our business better. It’s simply been a matter of surfacing those ideas and putting them into place.

How important is coordination among the different units in the hospital with regard to the type of service you’re able to deliver?

It’s crucial. We are a service line organization, which means that similar clinical areas report to a single program director. There are six service lines. The program directors and several VPs meet with me on a weekly basis to review our progress on the goals that we have set and what actions we need to take to stay on course. It brings a high level of coordination from a policy point of view and an operational point of view. In that meeting, I talk about what’s important to the organization – in terms of policies, directions, or things that we’re doing administratively – and I ask everybody to report on what they’re doing. So you have 10 or 12 people listening to what everybody else is doing and coordinating their own departments.

Another crucial component within our organization is our service excellence focus. In 1999, we moved into the new building, and our patient satisfaction scores went down, which was discouraging since we’d just spent millions of dollars to construct a first-class building. After much discussion, we created the service excellence committee, and that has grown into about 35 managers meeting weekly and going through every patient complaint that comes back to the hospital on a patient survey. Every manager has to be prepared to report on how he or she has resolved that situation. This has served to galvanize the organization. It is one team caring for the patients and that becomes the common denominator of everything we do.