Joe Sharma Appointed New Vice Chair of Quality, Patient Safety and Care Innovation for the Department of Surgery

December 2019

Dr. Joe Sharma

Joe Sharma, MD, Associate Professor and William C. McGarity Chair of Surgery, has been appointed Vice Chair of Quality, Patient Safety and Care Innovation for the Department of Surgery. In this position, Dr. Sharma will foster healthcare improvements and encourage implementation of innovations in healthcare services across the department, partnering with division chiefs, division and program quality officers, and other vice chairs. He will also make recommendations to John Sweeney, MD, Chair of the Department of Surgery, as well as Emory Healthcare quality staff regarding new areas of focus, surgical quality trends, and opportunities to strengthen quality-related systems and infrastructure.

This appointment represents a new phase in Dr. Sharma's quality and safety work on behalf of the department, which began in 2009 when he became the primary steward for the participation of Emory University Hospital (EUH) in the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP). In 2010, he was appointed Chief Quality Officer for the Division of General and GI Surgery, and in 2016, began serving as the Chief Quality Officer for the Department of Surgery.

Dr. Sharma's quality and safety-based achievements include his installment and oversight of the sustained internal auditing and localized-to-systemic renovation that contributed greatly to lowering EUH's readmissions, incidence of surgical site infections, and overall mortality, eventually leading to the hospital being included in ACS NSQIP's 2018 and 2019 listings of the top 10% of meritorious member hospitals.

In addition to his Emory work, Dr. Sharma chairs the Georgia Surgical Quality Collaborative, a partnership of nine hospitals from across the state, and is directing and evaluating the member facilities' information-sharing systems and subsequent examination and comparison of clinical outcomes data for the benefit of patients and to reduce overall health care costs.

"Dr. Sharma's leadership has been exemplary in standardizing and advancing care, quality, and safety in the programs and services within his purview, and I look forward to working with him to further improve the health of our population, reduce per capita cost of health care, and improve both the patient and provider experiences at Emory Healthcare," says Dr. Sweeney.