Staff Award for Excellence - Elizabeth McLaughlin

Elizabeth McLaughlin

Elizabeth McLaughlin

Project Manager Senior / Research Senior Supervisor, Division of Hospital Medicine

Nominators, Dr. Vineet Chopra & Dr. Scott Flanders: "Elizabeth leads from behind, always putting others' interests ahead of her own, and is an outstanding example of a servant leader and an innovative and thoughtful manager."

From Dr. Vineet Chopra:

From Dr. Scott Flanders:

Congratulatory Comments:

Work Performance

Elizabeth started her career at Michigan in the role of a Clinical Information Analyst for the Blue Cross Blue Shield, Blue Care Network (BCBS-BCN) funded Michigan Hospital Medicine Safety Consortium (HMS). This large project brings together 50+ hospitals across the State of Michigan where Michigan Medicine has served as the Coordinating Center for this work for close to a decade.

What is unusual about Elizabeth is the attention and detail she gives to everything she does. For example, when she began as an analyst, she spotted problems with how data was being collected within our first QI project, leading to major changes in how all hospitals collected data related to venous thromboembolism prevention. Elizabeth was later promoted to Performance Evaluation Specialist in which she worked closely with project leaders on designing and developing new ideas for the collaborative, where her creative and superb performance became apparent. Her thoughtful approach to projects is a major component of the secret of HMS’s success.

Elizabeth’s exemplary work performance is evident not only in thinking about the HMS platform, but also within individual projects. She worked on the launch of the new PICC project, the first of its kind in the nation, where she helped create and define how data would be collected at hospitals and what type of workflow hospitals would follow in improvement efforts. As a result of her outstanding efforts, not only has the PICC project been funded now for over five years, it has changed the landscape of how we think of the safety of intravenous devices in the hospital.


When our inaugural HMS Project Manager moved to a different role at Michigan Medicine, it was the obvious decision to promote Elizabeth to her current role – Project Manager Senior/Research Senior Supervisor. She immediately got busy working to assess the morale of our team and reassuring everyone of their importance and role. Her approach led to several important process changes to improve team cohesion.

To gain better traction of work across the collaborative, Elizabeth created a Data/Design and Publications Committee that included stakeholders from across all sites – including clinical leaders from our partnering hospitals. Elizabeth also introduced a standing “Value” item on our biweekly team meetings to keep our focus on identifying the cost savings HMS achieves through its efforts. This standing value item has become a foundational aspect of how HMS thinks about projects and their value to BCBS.

These innovations are but a small sliver of the leadership and initiative Elizabeth has shown in leading people, leading our work, and adopting a learner mindset to all that she does.

Customer Service

HMS’s most important customers are the 50+ hospitals we serve across Michigan. Elizabeth never forgets that and goes out of her way to evaluate EVERY initiative through the lens of our hospitals. The success and engagement of all of our partner hospitals in this work is her guiding light. Our HMS Coordinating Center is evaluated by our hospitals every year, and the scores we receive from them are exemplary, largely due to Elizabeth’s efforts.

BCBSM is also a critically important customer. Elizabeth has been recognized as one of the top Project Managers of all the 18 CQIs BCBSM funds. This means BCBSM often looks first to HMS when opportunities arise to present any CQI work to their customers. Elizabeth recently facilitated our presenting HMS successes to many health care purchasing teams from the major Detroit automobile manufacturers. When many of these major employers and their health care teams came to BCBSM with complaints over escalating costs and worsening outcomes for patients hospitalized with sepsis, BCBS leadership reached out to Elizabeth and asked if HMS was in a position to respond to these concerns.  Elizabeth rallied our troupes, helped create an internal work group, and within four weeks had almost single-handedly developed a project proposal that was subsequently funded by BCBS to the tune of nearly $500,000 annually.

Process Improvement

Elizabeth has led many process improvement changes in HMS and for the work of our team here at Michigan including:

  • Reworking and improving the training of new abstractors. Elizabeth created a web-based training environment for new abstractors that allowed for much of the training to be completed virtually. What was once an entire week of travel to Michigan Medicine became a single day.
  • Revamping the hiring approach for HMS staff. Elizabeth broadened our hiring process from that which focused on a few leaders to multiple team members. The process improvement was paired with standardized feedback and assessment tools, a review process with core HMS leadership, as well as transparent and democratic decision making when it comes to hiring.
  • Data-driven feedback to hospitals. Elizabeth worked with our programmers and data core to develop automated online reports that can be generated online and in an instant, replacing the manual and labor intensive process of giving hospitals paper-based data reports at quarterly intervals.