New book describes UCLA Health System's journey to operational excellence

UCLA Health article
Imagine running a business that requires the innovation of Apple, the commitment to safety of NASA and the customer service of a five-star luxury hotel. Also imagine that your product holds life and death in the balance, that you must be a world-class educator and that your research is shaping the very future of your field. Now imagine that you must achieve all this in the competitive and ever-changing world of health care. 
The UCLA Health has become highly respected throughout the world for its innovative, top-tier patient care. Now, best-selling author Joseph Michelli shines a spotlight on the organizational strategies that have made UCLA the envy of the health care industry.
In his new book, "Prescription for Excellence: Leadership Lessons for Creating a World-Class Customer Experience From UCLA Health" (McGraw-Hill, 2011), Michelli uses the leadership principles developed at UCLA to offer insights and tools that can help other health care organizations achieve similar levels of success, not only in the area of clinical care but also in the challenging realm of patient satisfaction.
"Our stories are unbelievable," said Dr. David T. Feinberg, CEO of the UCLA Hospital System and associate vice chancellor for health sciences. "On one floor, we're doing brain surgery that is performed in only a few places in the country, and on the floor below, in a patient's room, we're providing Ritz Carlton–style service. That is who we are. The book describes both floors."
Michelli, an organizational consultant who also penned "The Starbucks Experience" (McGraw-Hill, 2006) and "The New Gold Standard" (McGraw-Hill, 2008), about the Ritz-Carlton hotel company, outlines the principles used by the UCLA Health to create an organizational culture dedicated to service excellence, one that is translatable to health care providers — and organizations in other industries — across the globe.
Michelli and his team spent nearly a year inside the UCLA Health, closely observing "the good, the bad and the ugly," according to Feinberg. Based on that experience, the author distilled UCLA's ability to consistently provide world-class patient care and customer service into five basic principles that address customer service, patient safety, brand enhancement, innovation, and financial and operational efficiency.
The five principles are: (1) commit to care, (2) leave no room for error, (3) make "the best" better, (4) create the future and (5) service serves us.
In other industries, Feinberg said, these principles and strategies would likely be closely safeguarded as a competitive advantage, but the UCLA Health intends to do just the opposite.
"This book is our way to give back to our community," Feinberg says. "We are owned by the people of the state of California, and I believe we have an obligation to share what we have learned so that our friends and neighbors who trust us have access to safe, clinically excellent health care that is delivered with the highest level of compassion, dignity and privacy — regardless of where they receive medical care."
"Prescription for Excellence" is now available online and in bookstores across the country.
Michelli has chosen to donate the proceeds from the book to UCLA to benefit UCLA's Operation Mend program, which provides free reconstructive surgery and other medical care for U.S. military personnel severely wounded during service in Iraq and Afghanistan. 
For more information on the book, visit
The UCLA Health has for more than half a century provided the best in health care and the latest in medical technology to the people of Los Angeles and the world. Comprised of Ronald Reagan UCLA Health - Santa Monica Medical Center–UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital, the Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA, UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital and the UCLA Medical Group, with its wide-reaching system of primary care and specialty care offices throughout the region, the UCLA Health is among the most comprehensive and advanced health care systems in the world. For information about clinical programs or help in choosing a personal physician, call 800-UCLA-MD1 or visit  
For more news, visit the UCLA Newsroom and UCLA News|Week and follow us on Twitter.
Media Contact:
Roxanne Moster
(310) 794-2264
[email protected]

Related Content


Media Contact

Roxanne Moster
(310) 794-2264
[email protected]