Joseph "West" Paul, MD, PhD, was placed as the inaugural chief clinical officer for New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, North Carolina. New Hanover is a public, not-for-profit teaching hospital and regional referral center that serves as the tertiary care center for a seven-county area. It is the ninth-largest healthcare system in the state, with 855 licensed beds, 6,000 employees, and 560 physicians. NHRMC's programs and services are often recognized for the level of care they provide and the standards they set for similar programs across the state and country; the system includes one of ten trauma centers in the state certified at Level II or above, and has received an "A" grade from The Leapfrog Group for its commitment to safety. In his role, Dr. Paul will be responsible for quality and clinical excellence, and will be instrumental in building the organization's capability to support these with real-time data analytics. Working through clinical outcomes and care variation, he will integrate the quality spectrum across the entire organization in order to change its value equation.
Dr. Paul comes to New Hanover from WakeMed Health and Hospitals in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he served as the chief quality and medical staff officer. Within this nationally recognized not-for-profit healthcare organization, Dr. Paul was the senior physician executive, with a tenure marked by performance improvement and value delivery. He was instrumental in transforming the quality and safety structure at WakeMed into a proactive, data-driven service that provided useful, relevant information to the clinical and frontline staff, while educating the system on "top ten" practices built on aspirational goals. He successfully engaged physicians in achieving clinical outcomes targets, led quality for a successful ACO that demonstrated shared savings benefits, and implemented a system-wide performance improvement program. In addition, Dr. Paul achieved a cultural transformation that yielded improvements in both physician satisfaction scores and AHRQ patient safety scores.
Previously, Dr. West spent 16 years with Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, where he made significant contributions as the founding chair of the Division of Consultative and Diagnostic Medicine, the vice chair of the Department of Internal Medicine, and the associate program director for the internal medicine residency program. Dr. West spearheaded the implementation of the quality curriculum and the development of residency PI projects, and chaired the Clinical Practice Quality Oversight Committee. He also served as the medical director of the perioperative clinic and as the medical chair of Mayo's pharmacy and P&T Committee. The Communication in Healthcare curriculum he co-designed while there resulted in a significant system-wide improvement in patient satisfaction scores and decrease in safety events.
As an internist, Dr. Paul is adept at caring for patients with multisystem disease. His research interests include clinical pharmacology, the therapeutic evaluation of long-term drug therapy, communication links for quality and safety, and quality improvement for medication use and safety. Dr. Paul currently holds two patents for his work and has published in peer-reviewed journals and been honored as an invited presenter and visiting professor at conferences and lectures throughout the United States and internationally; he has received many awards for his excellence in teaching. Dr. Paul is a member of the American College of Physicians, the American College of Healthcare Executives, the American Association for Physician Leadership, the American College of Clinical Pharmacology, and the Society for Neuroscience.
Dr. Paul earned his bachelor's degree in zoology from Duke University, and both his PhD in pharmacology and his MD from East Carolina University. He and his wife are the parents of two grown sons.