May 12, 2016

Timothy M. Elwell, MBA, PhD, president and chief executive officer of Qualidigm, the mission-driven national healthcare consulting company based in Wethersfield, Conn., received a doctorate in philosophy (PhD) degree from Indiana Wesleyan University during a commencement ceremony held at the university’s campus in Marion, Indiana on April 30.

On March 21, Elwell successfully defended his dissertation, which was the last degree requirement for his doctorate. His research subject area in organizational leadership examined the relationship of emotional intelligence of accountable care organizational (ACO) leaders and the creation of trust in the ACO leader’s teams. The national study will be published in ProQuest, the largest single repository of graduate dissertations and theses.

When asked about the accomplishment, Elwell commented that the achievement was anticlimactic.  “After working on something for so long, there is a point where you just want to be done!  I am at that point.  Nonetheless, a number of interesting observations were made.  For instance, ACO teams appear to demonstrate high trust and the measured emotional intelligence of physician leaders are no different than non-physician leaders.” Elwell also noted that the Qualidigm board and staff were supportive of him completing the degree.

Qualidigm’s commitment to continuing education does not end with its chief executive officer. “Eighty-five percent of our workforce has a bachelor’s degree and nearly 50% of our staff hold advanced degrees,” said Joanne Draper, Qualidigm vice president of human resources. “Additionally, four staff members have PhDs, one staff member has a JD and another has a CPA. We value education and believe we bring a high-caliber resource to each consulting engagement,” said Draper.

“Qualidigm is occasionally characterized as being too academic,” Elwell quipped. With over 200 peer-reviewed publications, including recent studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of Hospital Medicine, he admitted the company takes an academic approach to consulting engagements. “When we competed for and won the State Innovation Model Advanced Practice pilot award in Connecticut, we included a full peer-review bibliography supporting our approach. Many of the articles referenced were authored by Qualidigm,” said Elwell. “Earlier this year, President Obama quoted a statistic in an executive order taken from Qualidigm research. The difference between Qualidigm and a pure think tank is that we help to translate the research and make it actionable for real practice. Qualidigm staff members do not live in ivory towers; they truly love working side-by-side with our clients.  We learn from each other.”

“Tim is a smart, capable and enthusiastic leader who has a passion for the organization’s mission to improve healthcare through transformational change,” said Paul Liistro, chair of Qualidigm’s Board of Directors. “Having a chief executive officer with a PhD and MBA leading the organization only raises the bar for the talent Qualidigm attracts and better positions the organization for growth.  And having witnessed Qualidigm’s impressive revenue growth rate over the last three years, Tim knows how to grow organizations.”