William B. Thompson, PhD

Bill ThompsonBill Thompson has had several varied and successful careers, most recently for a decade as a consultant on healthcare quality improvement at a major hospital. Before that, at a large corporation as a senior executive in marketing and government regulatory affairs. After receiving his Ph.D. in Geophysics from MIT, Thompson’s first career included providing systems engineering support for the NASA manned space flight program, and heading corporate teams to solve telecommunications problems at Bell Labs and in Iran.

Healthcare Quality Improvement

From 1992-2006, Thompson headed his own consulting firm, focused on healthcare improvement. The firm’s principal engagement from 1992-2002 was with Morristown (NJ) Memorial Hospital to implement the transition in the hospital culture from old style quality control to new style continuous quality improvement (CQI). He reported directly to the medical doctor holding the position of Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs, and performed the following functions:

Bill Thompson’s Specialties
  • Healthcare Quality Improvement
  • Healthcare Cost Reduction
  • Telecommunications
  • Iran

1. Designed a management structure consisting of: (a) a Quality Council, chaired by the SVP-Medical Affairs, which included senior administrative officers (CEO, VP-Nursing, CFO, VP-Human Resources, etc.) and chairmen of major medical departments, and (b) quality improvement teams made up of 5-8 doctors, nurses, and technical staff members focused on a specific disease (e.g., pneumonia), surgery (e.g., total knee replacement), or support procedure (e.g., wheelchair availability)

2. Developed training programs and trained members of the Quality Council and teams in the principles and operating procedures of CQI.

3. Facilitated the meetings for over 30 teams during a 10-year period. Helped each team: (a) set the agenda for meetings; (b) select quantitative measures of quality and set improvement goals; (c) plan activities for change in the way health care was delivered; (d) track selected quality measures to monitor results of changed procedures; (e) write practices to hold the gains.

4. Set the agenda and facilitated monthly Quality Council meetings to: (a) review team progress; (b) coordinate and gain approval for recommended changes in procedures impacting multiple departments, and; (c) recognize and reward team accomplishments.

5. Produced videotapes illustrating CQI principles and team functions that were used in hospital-wide conferences.

6. Analyzed data in the hospital billing system and medical records to identify outlier areas of cost and medical results. Made recommendations for change to doctors heading departments for Cardiology, Orthopedic Surgery, Emergency Medicine, Vascular Surgery and Pulmonology.

7. Represented the office of the SVP-Medical Affairs in preparing for the on-site review, conducted every 2-3 years, by the independent Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). At a period of time when the Joint Commission was placing increased emphasis on continuous quality improvement, the aggregate score for Morristown Memorial Hospital was raised from the 70s in 1992 to the mid-90s in 1995.

8. Represented Morristown Memorial Hospital on various New Jersey healthcare improvement councils and committees.

Telecommunications Marketing and Systems Design

Prior to 1992, Thompson served as an executive at AT&T headquarters in regulatory affairs and later in marketing. In the regulatory area he was responsible for an interdepartmental team working on cost-of-service methods that led to FCC approval of a new methodology, thereby permitting AT&T to gain FCC approval for rate changes and new service introductions. In the Marketing area he was responsible for a team of several hundred people operating computer systems in support of market analyses and sales operations. During this latter assignment Thompson served as AT&T’s point person during meetings with the U.S. Justice Department Antitrust Division to settle issues concerning marketing practices for long distance service. These meetings, over a period of six months, led to a successful resolution.

Prior to the above AT&T domestic assignments, Thompson headed a team of about 30 personnel at American Bell International, Inc., an AT&T company operating in Tehran, Iran. His assignment was to develop the telecommunications requirements, both civilian and military, as the basis for a major upgrade in the country’s network. As part of this assignment he met frequently with senior officers of the U.S. Air Force, and the Iranian Army and Air Force, and with senior managers in the Iran telecom company and major government-run industries, such as NIOC (National Iranian Oil Company). This assignment ended when the government of the Shah of Iran fell.

Prior to the Iran assignment Thompson supervised a group of about 25 personnel at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, NJ, to develop cost and pricing methods and network planning tools for clients at AT&T and, on occasion, provided technical witnesses at state rate case hearings.

Thompson began his career working for Bellcomm, Inc., an AT&T subsidiary that provided systems engineering support to NASA headquarters on the Apollo Program. Assignments included developing a model of the lunar surface for landing vehicle design, selecting scientific experiments for earth orbit and lunar surface missions and, finally, plans for post-Apollo manned missions to Mars. In support of Dr. George Mueller, Director of NASA’s Office of Manned Space Flight, Thompson made numerous presentations to advisory committees, including the President’s Science Advisory Committee, composed of scientists and engineers from industry and academia.

Education and Memberships

Thompson holds Bachelor and Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in Geophysics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has been a member of the American Geophysical Union, and is currently a member of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society. He has been a member of the Roxiticus Golf Club in Mendham, NJ, for over 30 years and has served many years as Chairman of the Tennis and Platform Tennis Committees.