We’ve all heard the saying ‘quality and safety are at the heart of everything we do’ when referring to the high-quality, safe and efficient care Akron Children’s employees strive for every day. For Dr. Michael Bigham, the hospital’s chief quality officer (CQO), leading this charge isn’t just his job, it’s his passion.
In his role, Dr. Bigham serves on the executive leadership team (ELT) and looks at work through the quality lens by helping to build the structure and processes that successfully align the work being conducted system wide. As he says, quality thrives when good work is discovered, replicated and spread.
Dr. Bigham completed his medical degree at the University of Toledo’s College of Medicine and his pediatric residency and pediatric critical care fellowship at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. For the past 12 years he’s been a member of the PICU intensivist team.
Below he shares a little bit more about himself and his life outside work.
Tell us about your background.
I grew up in Salem, Ohio. For 30 years my mom worked at Salem Community Hospital setting a great example for me about work ethic and commitment to a health care mission. I used to ride my bike there in the summer and have lunch with her. The hospital was always a familiar place.
I met my wife during my undergraduate years at Baldwin Wallace University. She is from Poland, Ohio (Youngstown) and her mother still lives there which creates a special connection and makes the Akron/Canton/Mahoning Valley region “home” for me.
Tell us a little about your role as Chief Quality Officer (CQO).
As CQO, I oversee the patient experience department, the quality department (including peer review, utilization review), and the simulation center. My efforts focus on the key priorities of leading quality, chairing our quality cabinet, and fostering/supporting the resources, knowledge and culture of continuous improvement.
What do you like about working at Akron Children’s?
Three things – patients (and families), the mission (and vision/promises) and the hospital family and associated culture
- Children are amazing, genuine, honest, and generally just want to feel better, feel safe and be treated well. It’s humbling to be able to deliver that. It’s also humbling that parents trust us with the thing they value most in life – sometimes even in the most scary and dire circumstances. The ability to earn and deliver on that trust is truly humbling.
- There is nothing more special than living the mission/vision/promises and ensuring those are at the fabric of every decision we make as a leadership team.
- There are special people here at Akron Children’s – some are here after spending time as students/trainees and fell in love with the mission and the culture. Others come from other health care/non-health care roles – for the same – the culture and people. Many more have been here for decades – and continue to live the mission/vision/promises each and every day. I am proud of my co-workers and my work family who share the same commitment.
Why is employee engagement important to you?
While “teamwork makes the dream work” sounds cliché, there is a lot of truth to it. If there is engagement, it leads to teamwork where efforts are aligned and not in conflict. Engaged team members are inspired and inspiring to their coworkers. It’s contagious – engagement, inspiration and teamwork snowball into an unstoppable force both at an enterprise level and more importantly, at every single patient encounter level.
If you didn’t work in health care leadership, what would your dream job be?
Professional golfer? Or more realistically mowing greens at the golf course each morning and then golfing in the afternoon. The more practical answer is a teacher. This is probably rooted in the value I place on children, their natural tendency to investigate, learn and seek genuine understanding.
Tell us about your family.
My wife, Lindsay, and I have been married for 20 years. She’s an amazing person, superb mom, and has a caring/giving heart that is unmatched. We have two kids. Barrett, 15, is a high school sophomore who is smart, funny and athletic. His sister, Chloe, 12, is a 7th grader with many of the same attributes as her brother – and she’s also creative. She’s quite handy with her Cricut machine. I am very proud of the values that my children are demonstrating as they are growing up.
How do you relax?
Spending time with my family and friends watching/playing sports, golfing, traveling, water/snow skiing, fishing (deep sea, fly fishing). I also like to spend time at a family cabin in Clarion, PA – where I can get off the grid because there’s rarely a cell signal and no Wi-Fi.
Most interesting place you’ve been?
I was in England/Ireland last year where I attended a soccer match in London and then spent five days of golf in Ireland.
What was your first paying job?
Mowing lawns in the summertime; and umpiring baseball games (good lessons learned in conflict resolution).
What would you change about yourself if you could?
I would change the speed with which life happens and how I can be more and do more for more people. There are so many more things I’d like to do for the hospital, my church, my community, my friends and my family. The gift of time is special.
Do you have a favorite quote or mantra you live by?
“At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know.
I recently had an old 1965 Meyers Manx family dune buggy restored. I have special memories of this vehicle with my father-in-law (who has since passed away).