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Sunday, January 9th 2011

Paul Levy Stepping Down

Social media, the internet has created a remarkable, egalitarian communication conduit between those at all levels of an enterprise. It has incredible, somewhat recognized promise, promise as a utility for transparency. If those at the top are willing to embrace it. When it comes to health care perhaps no one of more prominence embraced social media more fully than Paul Levy.

Now the CEO of Beth Israel Deaconnes Medical Center in Boston is stepping down. Levy’s time leading BIDMC has almost universally been regarded as success in terms of the revitalization of the hospital’s finances, his push for transparency and the general reorganization of the workings of the facility. Not that his time hasn’t been without notable controversy. All that considered, I’ll certainly remember Mr. Levy for how much he shared from the inside including on his blog Running A Hospital.

He used that medium of recent to post the email he shared with the BIDMC community. In it he says,

I have been coming to a conclusion over the last several months, perhaps prompted by reaching my 60th birthday, which is often a time for checking in and deciding on the next stage of life. I recently traveled to Africa and while biking through the Atlas Mountains had plenty of time in a less cluttered environment to think this through.

[...]

While I remain strongly committed to the fight for patient quality and safety, worker-led process improvement, and transparency, our organization needs a fresh perspective to reach new heights in these arenas. Likewise, for me personally, while it has been nine great years working with outstanding people, that is longer than I have spent in any one job, and I need some new challenges.

So, last night, I informed the Chair of our Board that I will be stepping down as CEO. We will work out an appropriate transition period, and things will continue to run smoothly here. I leave confident that the Board will find many able candidates to succeed me.

He does promise to continue his presence online. Which is certainly a good thing.

I don’t know Mr. Levy personally. This Pre-Rounds column I wrote for Medscape is my sole interaction with him. However, I’ve certainly kept up with what he’s had to share through social media and enjoyed it. I hope he finds success in whatever new challenges he takes on, and I hope he keeps sharing his observations.

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