5 Questions: David Entwistle on taking the helm of SHC

In a Q&A, the new president and CEO of Stanford Health Care shares his thoughts about his new job and the evolving health care landscape.

David Entwistle

David Entwistle joined Stanford Health Care as president and CEO on July 5. He succeeded Mariann Byerwalter, who served as interim president and CEO from January through June. 

Entwistle’s extensive experience in leadership positions at academic medical centers includes most recently having served as CEO of the University of Utah Hospital & Clinics for nine years. UUHC is the only academic medical center in the Intermountain West, and has about 1,100 board-certified physicians who staff four university hospitals, 10 community clinics and several specialty centers. It is consistently ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals and in 2010 was No. 1 on the prestigious University HealthSystem Consortium’s Quality and Accountability scorecard.

He earned a master’s degree in health services administration at Arizona State University and a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University.

Entwistle is an avid cyclist who enjoys both road and mountain biking, often accompanied by his teenage son. He also competes in Ironman Triathlons.

He recently shared his thoughts about his new job and Stanford Medicine with Shelley Hebert, a writer with Stanford Health Care.  

Q: What attracted you to Stanford Health Care?

Entwistle: Here at Stanford, we have the very best. We have the best in terms of individuals who are at the top of their games. They have trained for many, many years and are bringing the benefits of this academic component to providing the best care for our patients. They are also creating an exceptional collaborative environment, which is what I enjoy. We’re always pushing the bar.

Q: Where do you see the greatest potential for Stanford Medicine?

Entwistle: One of the things that I’m very passionate about is what can we do to prevent disease. How can we prevent people from getting sick? So when we talk about precision health at Stanford Medicine, that really is saying, “Can we find out what’s wrong before it happens and before individuals have to go through sometimes difficult or arduous treatment and related experiences, whether diagnostic or therapeutic? Can we prevent that?” I really feel that we at Stanford will be the leaders in the country in actually doing this.

One of the things that we have the opportunity to do here with the incredible assets of technology and Silicon Valley is advance health care through better application of technology for individuals. From wearable devices that track activity, to monitoring of blood glucose or other aspects of personal health, valuable data is being generated. Stanford is extremely well-situated to be able to apply innovative technology to improve health. The challenge is that while we have increasing availability of data and extensive resources, how can we take these and turn them into better knowledge about predicting, preventing and treating disease? This will be our challenge, but I’m confident we can accomplish this.

Q: The landscape of health care is continuing to change. How do you see Stanford Health Care evolving?

Entwistle: As we look at where health care is going — whether you call it population health or accountable care (and there are many different terms in use) — it’s really about taking care of groups of individuals and caring for them over periods of time. So we’ve got to be able to have the locations to be able to do that, with the right facilities and excellent clinicians. As we advance the potential for precision health, it’s really about keeping people well, and it’s even better if we can also keep them out of the hospital. We have to make sure that we have the facilities and infrastructure to be able to serve patients where they are located. I think creating a network that really will be state-of-the-art nationally is one of the exciting opportunities that Stanford is well-positioned to take advantage of here in the Bay Area.

Q: What do you think differentiates Stanford Health Care?

Entwistle: Research is really what differentiates us. It is the fact that we can actually bring the new and innovative technologies, the new treatments and the new diagnoses to the table as we are continuing to push the bar. That’s why patients come here.

Huge changes are underway in health care right now, from the Affordable Care Act to delivery reform to the shift toward population health, and how the relationships that we’re going to have in the future with our patients will be different from what we have now. The combination of Stanford Health Care with our partners at the School of Medicine and Stanford Children’s Health creates tremendous potential impact for our patients as we integrate to bring them solutions.

Q: How has your involvement in athletics influenced your perspective on leadership?

Even though many of the events in which I participate are an individual effort, a lot of what I’ve learned in cycling or in a triathlon is seeing the difference that you can make in your own performance by working together with others in preparing. There is a real power in teams. If you’re acting as a team, building on each other’s strengths and helping to support each other, then you really can accomplish anything.



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