Improvement Capability Development Program


Value-Focused Care is one of three priority areas highlighted in the Stanford Medicine Integrated Strategic Plan. Conceptually, value in health care equals the sum of quality and service divided by cost and multiplied by engagement of physicians and staff.

The Improvement Capability Development Program (ICDP) is a joint venture between the Department of Quality for Stanford Healthcare and the Stanford School of Medicine that was launched in Spring 2017. Through ICDP, Stanford Health Care commits to returning 1 to 4 percent of a department’s clinical revenue to help develop and execute far-reaching improvement projects, depending on engagement and outcomes. These funds support faculty conducting improvement work, including research and education related to value-focused care. 

Objectives of ICDP

  • Development of a network of Physician Improvement Leaders. In Neurology, Dr. Carl Gold serves as the Physician Improvement Leader and Dr. Laurice Yang serves as the Associate Physician Improvement Leader for Outpatient Neurology. Dr. Gold and Dr. Yang meet monthly with Physician Improvement Leaders from other departments to learn from one another about common challenges and to discuss opportunities for collaboration.


  • Creation of improvement infrastructure in each department. In Neurology, this has led to the formation of the Neurology Quality Council.


  • Completion of multiple major annual improvement projects per department focused on elements of the value equation. In Neurology, these projects have balanced the priorities of hospital operations leaders, department leadership, faculty members, and trainees.


Impact of ICDP

With every clinical department focused on providing high-quality, safe care, reducing low-value practices, and fostering physician and staff engagement, ICDP has quickly led to national accolades. Vizient is the nation’s leading health care performance improvement company that measures overall safety and quality in patient care. Stanford Medicine rapidly ascended from No. 71 in inpatient care in 2017 to No. 12 in 2018, for which it was awarded the Vizient Quality Leadership Rising Star Award.

In 2019, Stanford Medicine ranked No. 8 out of 93 peer academic medical centers for inpatient care and No. 3 out of 50 peer AMCs for ambulatory care. In honor of this performance, Stanford Medicine received two Vizient awards: the 2019 Bernard A. Birnbaum, MD, Quality Leadership Award and 2019 Ambulatory Care Quality and Accountability Award. There was no official Vizient ranking for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, Stanford Medicine ranked No. 10 out of 101 peer academic medical centers for inpatient care and No. 5 out of 53 centers for ambulatory care.

Neurology’s participation in ICDP has also led to multiple publications, including three manuscripts (1 2 3) about the launch of teleneurology during the COVID-19 pandemic written in partnership with the Stanford Evaluations Sciences Unit.

Beyond these demonstrations of high-quality, safe, and innovative care, we feel that the truest impact of ICDP has been the accelerated embrace of a culture of continuous improvement and belief in the power of teamwork.

Annual Improvement Projects

Carl Gold, MD, MS
Physician Improvement Leader,
Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology & Neurological Sciences

Laurice Yang, MD, MHA
Associate Physician Improvement Leader for Outpatient Neurology,
Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology & Neurological Sciences