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Brent  James

Brent James

Expert in Clinical Quality Improvement & Patient Safety


Brent James is known internationally for his work in clinical quality improvement, patient safety, and the infrastructure that underlies successful improvement efforts, such as culture change, data systems, payment methods, and management roles. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly known as the Institute of Medicine) and participated in many of that organization’s seminal works on quality and patient safety. Read More >

He is a Fellow of the American College of Physician Executives. He holds faculty appointments at several universities:

  • Clinical Professor, Stanford University School of Medicine (Medicine)
  • Visiting Lecturer, Harvard School of Public Health (Health Policy and Management)
  • Adjunct Professor, University of Utah David Eccles School of Business
  • Adjunct Professor, University of Utah School of Medicine (Family Medicine; Biomedical Informatics)

He is presently a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), Boston, MA; a Senior Advisor at the Leavitt Group, Salt Lake City, UT; and a Senior Advisor at Health Catalyst, Salt Lake City, UT. He was formerly Chief Quality Officer, and Executive Director, Institute for Healthcare Delivery Research at Intermountain Healthcare, based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Through the Intermountain Advanced Training Program in Clinical Practice Improvement (ATP), he has personally trained more than 5,000 senior physician, nursing, and administrative executives, drawn from around the world, in clinical management methods, with proven improvement results (and leading to over 50 “sister” training programs in more than 10 countries).

He has been honored with a series of awards for quality in health care delivery, including (among many):

  • Distinguished Alumnus, University of Utah, 2015
  • Deming Cup – Columbia University School of Business, 2011
  • Jackson Grayson Medal, Distinguished Quality Pioneer – American Quality and Productivity Center, 2010
  • Joint Commission Ernest A. Codman Award, 2006
  • AHA HRET TRUST Award, 2005
  • National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) Quality Award, 2005
  • American College of Medical Quality Founders’ Award, 1999

For 8 of first the 9 years it existed, he was named among Modern Physician’s “50 Most Influential Physician Executives in Healthcare.” He was named among the “100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare” (Modern Healthcare) for over 5 consecutive years, and among Modern Healthcare’s “25 Top Clinical Informaticists”.

Before coming to Utah in 1986, he was Assistant Professor in the Department of Biostatistics at the Harvard School of Public Health, providing statistical support for the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) and Cancer & Leukemia, Group B (CALG); and staffed the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer.

He holds the following degrees: Bachelor of Science degrees in Computer Science (Electrical Engineering) and Medical Biology; an M.D. degree (with residency training in general surgery and oncology); and a Master of Statistics degree.

He serves on several non-profit boards of trustees dedicated to clinical improvement and patient safety. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos


Quality Summit 2013

Health Care in the New World

Speech Topics

Why Clinical Quality Should Be Your Core Business Strategy

We Count Our Success in Lives: The Best Clinical Result at the Lowest Necessary Cost

Patient Safety