Spotlight on Heather Gocke, M.S., RNC-OB, CPHRM, C-EFM, Vice President, Risk Management & Safety

With more than a decade working at the intersection of medical malpractice insurance and healthcare—including a year at BETA Healthcare Group—Heather Gocke brings the depth of experience needed to ensure all BETA’s risk management initiatives set a gold standard in the industry.

Heather’s range of experience, including her tenure as a litigation supervisor and a legal nurse consultant and as manager of clinical risk management, patient safety and quality improvement at Catholic Healthcare West, has armed her with a unique and invaluable perspective. “Identifying best practices and then rolling out those risk management processes to a team is what I enjoy most. The issues we identify and are able to address are all aimed at helping to improve patient safety and the quality of care—that makes what we do doubling satisfying. There’s no better outcome than improved patient safety.”

While Heather’s focus is on clinical risk management solutions at BETA, her true passion is with moms and babies in the perinatal arena. Since joining BETA, she has lead over half a dozen BETA-sponsored IHI perinatal teams and has helped drive the active engagement of 35 member facilities in the organization’s newly launched Quest for Zero: Excellence in OB. BETA member teams that have interacted with Heather know first-hand—her energy, passion and humor keep everyone engaged, energized and moving forward. “It’s a comprehensive program that allows BETA and member organizations to partner and address patient safety in one of the most critical and potentially high risk areas of patient trauma. The notion that an insurance provider and healthcare provider would work so closely together is refreshing—it truly sets BETA apart in the industry.”

Heather recently completed a year-long Patient Safety Leadership Fellowship through the American Hospital Association—an experience that transformed the California-native both professionally and personally. “The Fellowship challenged me to think in new ways and view concepts from different perspectives.”

As a newcomer to BETA, Heather found the organization’s open style and team-oriented culture to be a welcome change. “I truly value the dynamic and results teams achieve. Working together and finding ways to better anticipate issues and solve issues if they do arise is the right way to do business. It’s not always the approach within the healthcare field—but at BETA, it’s part of our DNA.”

Not surprisingly, Heather believes in challenging herself professionally. Evidence of her insatiable curiosity and the value she places in working with others can be seen through her extensive network of professional connections. She has held various leadership roles with SCAHRM (Southern California Association for Healthcare Risk Management) as a board member, education chair, vice president and president, and as a NCC Board member (National Certification Corporation) certifying body of nurse professionals in obstetrical and neonatal nurse specialties. She was also actively involved on the ASHRM 2010 Annual Conference planning committee and will serve in 2011 as the ASHRM Exchange task force lead with a goal of improving risk management communication through information technology.

If Heather was ever to exit the healthcare arena, she’d likely head to the kitchen and lead a team in creating extraordinary culinary experiences. Or you might find her in a smaller scale kitchen, like the one in her nostalgic motor home as she heads to one of her favorite get-away beach locales.