This fall, the Experience Innovation Network, part of Vocera, virtually convened healthcare leaders from across the continent for Humanize Health 2020, our annual thought leadership gathering. Together we delved into meaningful topics such as prioritizing humanity in the midst of a pandemic, racial justice uprisings, and an uncertain political climate.
Like frontline team members, leaders are tired but determined. Their commitment to supporting the physical and emotional safety and well-being of team members, patients, families, and communities has been, if anything, heightened by the trials and tribulations of 2020.
At every Humanize Health event, we distill the most poignant insights about humanity in healthcare. In keeping with tradition, below are the top 10 pearls of wisdom from our speakers and participants:
10. “Healthcare people work on the front lines of human vulnerability. We must live with and practice human compassion with every interaction.” – David Whyte, poet, speaker, leader
David Whyte reminded us of how important it is to connect with our own souls, with the beauty of language, and with the ways communication and connection drive healing.
9. “Technology is not value-neutral. We need to focus on applying it to decrease disparities.” – Peter Fleischut, MD, SVP, Chief Transformation Officer, NewYork-Presbyterian
Our panel of technology leaders reminded us that technology plays a critical role in supporting humanity in healthcare – but only if we explicitly use it to create a more equitable health system.
8. “We can stop treating patient data like oil (a commodity) and more like air. It is a relationship to a person at a moment in time.” – Sharon Terry, MA, President and CEO, Genetic Alliance
Our panel of “superpatients” – those who had bumped up against the edges of known science and pushed past them, outlined a future state for us in which access to data and expertise is democratized to enable deeper partnerships between patients and providers.
7. “People in healthcare don’t mind working hard if they feel like they’re doing good and important work.” – Bob Wachter, MD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco
Dr. Wachter inspired us with insights into the importance of leadership and communication strategies that empower frontline team members to do what they do best: serve patients with compassion and safety.
6. “We need to make well-being a metric on our dashboards, reconnect to purpose, and destigmatize seeking support.” – Amy Frieman, MD, MBA, FAAHPM, Chief Wellness Officer, Hackensack Meridian Health
Our panel of chief wellness officers highlighted the profound impact of the pandemic on the well-being of team members – and the need to provide support now and in the future.
5. “Diversity is healing.” – Jeremy Segall, MA, RDT, LCAT, System Chief Wellness Officer, New York City Health & Hospitals
Our chief wellness officers also recognized the deep intertwinement of the pandemic and racial justice uprisings, reminding us that the work of building systems of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging is part of the healing journey.
4. “We can use this moment to reimagine healthcare delivery and evolve from one-to-one visits to one-to-many services.” –
Dr. Kvedar shared a vision of the future of telemedicine in which we move beyond traditional visits and think of virtual care not as an opportunity to fundamentally rethink the delivery of care across all settings.
3. “We have to be willing to sacrifice people’s comfort for other people’s liberation.” – Angela Goepferd, MD, Chief Education Officer, Children’s Minnesota
Our panel of diversity, equity, and inclusion leaders pushed us to think beyond statements and slogans to the concrete actions, policies, and practices that lead to a culture of belonging.
2. “The connection between your personal purpose and your organization’s purpose is the alchemy that replicates your vision as a leader.” – Wright L. Lassiter, III, MHA, President and CEO, Henry Ford Health System
Mr. Lassiter shared his leadership philosophy – one that aligns values with decision-making to create a system that supports human-centered leadership, for example by increasing the minimum wage for team members, even in a time of financial hardship.
1. “Healthcare team members deserve to be protected and connected so they can be healers, not heroes.” – M. Bridget Duffy, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Vocera Communications
Dr. Duffy painted a future vision for the health system that redefines safety to encompass both personal protection and the kinds of connection that enable effective communication, collaboration, and compassion.
Though there is much work to be done, and much uncertainty still to be faced, the prevailing sentiment of the speakers and participants was one of hope. From unprecedented challenge can come unimagined innovation – provided we keep humanity at the center.
The Experience Innovation Network team is profoundly grateful to all the speakers and attendees who made Humanize Health 2020 an event focused on tackling the intractable challenges of healthcare with humanity, empathy, equity, and compassion.