EMBA Student gains new promotion in major merger

January 8th, 2020

Head shot of Dr. Kim Ariyabuddhiphongs Dr. Kim Ariyabuddhiphongs, a member of the EMBA class of 2020 and a Massachusetts internist, was promoted to Associate Chief Medical Officer for the Beth Israel Lahey Health Performance Network during the recent merger between Beth Israel Deaconess and Lahey Health systems. Below, Dr. Ariyabuddhiphongs talks more about her new role, the promotion process, what it is like to work at an organization during a merger, and how pursuing an EMBA has helped her along the way.

Please tell us about your new role. What are you responsible for? I recently transitioned into being the Associate Chief Medical Officer for the Beth Israel Lahey Health Performance Network. In my role, I work with key stakeholder groups in advancing our goals to improve quality and increase efficiency. Our priorities in 2020 are to improve quality measure performance in cancer screening and diabetes process and outcomes in the ambulatory setting. In the hospital setting, we are working with our network hospitals to improve Hospital Quality Measure performance. We are also looking closely at improving efficiency for our Medicare ACO and have identified targets and programs we will launch in early 2020. I lead focused programs and initiatives and also act as a coach to facilitate success in Population Health.

What role were you promoted from? What are the differences in responsibilities? I was previously Medical Director of BIDCO, the ACO of the legacy Beth Israel Deaconess system. My prior role had a broad range but not as much depth. My new role, to a certain extent, is narrower and more focused as I’m working with fewer groups. I’m relishing the opportunity to work more closely with key leadership at the organizations within the larger system.

Tell us about the process you went through to get the promotion.  I had already been doing a very similar role previously for 1.5 years and had worked at Beth Israel Deaconess for more than 12 years. I have the advantage of having worked in this system, knowing the culture, knowing how to execute within our system, and having worked with leadership from my previous role as medical director at one of the large primary care practices. It was a natural move for me to now work closely with the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Clinical Officer.

I know your organization has been undergoing a major merger. What has it been like to be in a position of leadership while significant changes have been happening?  I think you can’t know what it’s like to go through a merger without having experienced one yourself.  There has been a lot of transformation in our Population Health team. While there can be uncertainty, I try to maintain calm and optimism for what is ahead. Working with a larger health system gives us opportunities to question the status quo, transform and land on a new way of operating. While change can be hard, we can take a fresh look at challenges and develop a new path.

Did pursuing the EMBA for Physicians impact your ability to achieve this promotion? If so, how?  The EMBA has stimulated my growth in many ways. It’s fantastic to study amongst colleagues who also want to contribute in a different way beyond direct clinical care and are interested in leadership, health care policy, strategy, and health care finance.  That in and of itself is an inspiration.  I have learned so much about leadership styles from the professors and my classmates. The EMBA has been so valuable not only in gaining concrete knowledge but also in giving me confidence.

How has the EMBA for Physicians program helped you in your new role?  I love reading the leadership and strategy articles and cases, amongst others, and almost all of them have given me a pearl I can apply the very next day in interacting with others in my new role.


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