James D.Fortenberry, MD
Pediatrician in Chief
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta
In June, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta named James D. Fortenberry pediatrician in chief. It is a position that previously didn't exist and is an example of a trend among hospitals to design executive positions around areas of strategic importance within the organization. The position was developed by Children's Chief Medical Officer Dan Salinas, MD, and Children's Physician Leadership Cabinet. The move, along with other structural realignment, such as the creation of a surgeon in chief, for example, is meant to help develop stronger and more consistent protocols and quality initiatives that apply to Children's hospital sites (three hospitals, 16 neighborhood locations) as opposed to a campus-based approach.
Fortenberry: I will help direct us toward a broader system approach so there's a seamless understanding among physicians of the best patient care to be provided. Another key role for me is to not only develop stronger ties between physicians and administration, but also with physicians based in the community. The backbone of our care for kids in Atlanta is based on our community-based physicians. One initiative is the development of a community physician advisory board, which will serve to advise Children's on the needs of the community pediatrician. I'll continue to stay involved clinically, but I will spend half of my time on the administrative side.
A key part of this position is embedding physicians in more direct relationships with senior leader administration. This is a job bridging the gap between physicians and administrators. I'm here to help the administration better understand the needs of physicians but also to bring the understanding of what potential changes in the healthcare landscape will be occurring over the next decade. We want to stay on the leading edge of that.