Jimmy ChungJimmy Chung, MD, FACS, CHCQM        

Director, Medical Products Analysis, Providence Health & Services, Seattle, WA   

Joined AHRMM in 2014

Jimmy Chung is a doctor working full time in healthcare supply chain; that alone makes him a trailblazer. But as you get to know him, you’ll find there many qualities that make him unique and admirable. Jimmy originally joined AHRMM to research educational resources for his new position in supply chain. He soon realized the importance of clinical quality in healthcare supply chain and became involved in the Cost, Quality, and Outcomes (CQO) Movement initiative as a physician panelist at the CQO Summit. That led to running for a seat on the AHRMM board to continue to drive a clinical focus on supply chain issues and foster partnerships with physician organizations.

Jimmy was drawn to AHRMM because of its CQO Movement, but also because it’s the largest audience of healthcare supply chain leaders and has organizational strength that can be leveraged to collaborate with groups like the American Medical Association. He is most excited about CQO because he believes it is a crucial initiative that has not yet fully blossomed. “I think it will define healthcare spending when the right time comes.” Passionate about education, Jimmy appreciates AHRMM as a resource center, but he especially likes the annual conference. He finds the exposure to what’s new in the industry and the opportunity to network and exchange ideas with like-minded people to be the most valuable aspects of AHRMM membership. He’s also found value in participating in webinars and forming strategic partnerships with suppliers.

As Director of Medical Product Analysis (although this title will be changing in early 2016) for Providence Health, originally, Jimmy’s role was to educate and communicate with physicians in the organization about standardization and contract compliance. His role has expanded to include driving clinical quality and integrating patient outcomes as the goal for supply chain initiatives. When Jimmy first moved in to supply chain three years ago, his was the first full-time physician position in the healthcare supply chain; however he is quick to point out that other organizations fill the same need that he is meeting at Providence in a variety of ways, including advisor positions to help with contract compliance, etc.

Jimmy’s background as a vascular surgeon in private practice also includes considerable experience in administration, especially in an extracurricular capacity. He served as Chief of Staff at his former hospital in California, president of his local county medical society, and has served on several boards, including the California Medical Association (CMA). Within his own hospital he chaired the quality improvement effort, looking at how to implement new products into practice. He was also involved in advocacy and with some of the political efforts of the CMA.

Currently, one of his priorities is integrating patient outcomes into supply chain metrics and building a true total cost of care model. His team is gathering and analyzing data from many different sources – cost data from their GPO, and patient data from their EMRs and EPIC. Their overall goal is to become more patient-centric, and consider quality aspects from the patient point of view.

When asked the best part of his job, Jimmy responded, “the challenges of doing something that no one has done before, and becoming recognized as a leader in innovation.” However, the most challenging aspect of his job is not knowing how to do something because there’s no one else doing it!

Jimmy considers Don Berwick, former Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as someone who has influenced and shaped his thinking. Prior to his work in the administration, Berwick was President and CEO of the nonprofit Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Berwick has studied the management of health care systems for a long time, with a special emphasis on using scientific methods and evidence-based medicine and comparative effectiveness research to improve the balance between quality, safety, and costs. “Berwick said, ‘Improving the quality of healthcare will reduce its cost.’ I truly believe that is the case,” notes Jimmy. “In everything else in life we have been able to do things cheaper by doing it better. Healthcare is not different. If we focus on quality improvement (QI), it will become cheaper or costs will reduce.” Jimmy also believes a focus on QI is the key that will unlock better communications with physicians, as doctors won’t argue against quality improvement, whereas they may push back on cost reduction. “It’s a challenge, but it is doable.”

As you get to know him better, you can see that Jimmy is a man who appreciated challenges in many forms! When he was in medical school he volunteered in Kenya and Papua New Guinea. Instead of taking a three-month vacation after the first year of med school like many of his classmates, Jimmy decided he wanted an experience that was more life-meaningful. He volunteered his services at a hospital in Kenya (and climbed Mt. Kenya while there!). Later in his career he volunteered for six weeks at a hospital in New Guinea.

Between his service on boards and committees and his oversea adventures, you may have deduced that Jimmy likes to volunteer. He has a passion to give back to society and contribute to causes that are meaningful to him. “I don’t need to volunteer for everything, but some things that are worth doing don’t have to have monetary reward.” It could be that he comes by this humanitarian streak naturally – Jimmy was named after Jimmy Carter, who was the president when the Chungs immigrated to the United States from South Korea when he was eight. He is proud to be named after such an inspiring individual.

In his free time, Jimmy likes to ride his bike, (downhill) ski, and spend time with family.

His personal motto? “Do or do not. There is no try.” ~ Yoda

Jimmy Chung is doing his part to advance the healthcare supply chain.