Office Hours with… Rohit Sangal

In this brief Q&A, Rohit Sangal discusses his work improving emergency department operations, how his M.B.A. shapes his approach, and where he likes to ski.
Rohit Sangal

Rohit Sangal (Photo by Allie Barton)

After completing a fellowship at Yale School of Medicine, Rohit Sangal decided to stick around. Now, as a faculty member in the Department of Emergency Medicine, he applies his training — including an M.B.A. — to helping emergency departments (EDs) run more efficiently and improving experiences for both patients and staff.

When he’s not in the ED, you can catch him playing racket sports — tennis, paddle tennis, and pickleball, in particular — or skiing with his family.

We caught up with him for the latest edition of Office Hours, a Q&A series that introduces Yale newcomers to the broader university community.

Title Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine
Research interest Emergency department clinical operations
Prior institution University of Pennsylvania
Started at Yale July 1, 2021

How would you describe your research?

Rohit Sangal: My interest is in clinical operations and the realm of quality and patient safety. The ED sits at the intersection of so many different areas of the health care system. To make improvements we need to have a good understanding of who is coming to the emergency department, how the department is running, where it can run better, and what the pain points are. My research focuses on what we are doing, how we can do it better, and how it affects downstream resource utilization.

How does the fellowship you completed relate to your current work?

Sangal: Yale has a really strong fellowship in emergency medicine administration that has three components. There’s the clinical component where you care for patients and the administrative component where you do operations research and implement quality improvement projects. And there’s the M.B.A. component where you take classes at the School of Management and get formalized training in the business realm.

I think every clinician has feelings about where the pain points are and where things could be better. And often we say we need more resources. Many times, that is the case especially as EDs provide more and more patient care. But the M.B.A. got me to see it from a different lens. How can we use resources more efficiently? Maybe the electronic health record can be smarter. Maybe we can computerize a process to free up a resource that can be used somewhere else.

Why did you decide to stay at Yale as a faculty member?

Sangal: I felt my work here wasn’t done. There were some great opportunities emerging as my fellowship was wrapping up, including a research partnership between the School of Medicine and School of Management, and I wanted to see where it could go. And the hospital was implementing new programs, including the Care Signature program to help standardize care throughout Yale New Haven Health System. There was an opportunity to serve as a medical director for the ED component of that. It really aligned with my interests in quality, safety, and operations and was a great opportunity to build something from the ground up.

You mentioned an annual family vacation — where do you go?

Sangal: We go skiing out West and explore a new mountain each time. We love to just go down the mountain without a trail map and let the trails lead us.

Do you have a favorite trip?

Sangal: When we went to Keystone in Colorado around seven years ago. It was our first ski trip out West, and it sticks out because at the top of the mountain they had a snow cat that took you a little bit higher to one of the bowls. When we got up there, it was one of those picturesque moments where the snow was untouched. The snow almost came up to our knees and we could see our own tracks. My wife and I kept going up and taking different paths down. So it was our first West Coast trip, first time in a snow cat, first time in a bowl, and first time in deep untouched snow. It just checked off so many amazing boxes. Now we make it a point to go out there each year.

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