Last week physicians, nurses, and executives representing more than 21 health systems, hospitals, and clinics joined ExperiaHealth in San Francisco to network, share best practices, and push the envelope on what makes a great healthcare experience. The insights were incredibly thought-provoking and utterly practical. They won’t all fit in a blog post, but here’s a sampling of what we learned:
Bridget Duffy, MD, ExperiaHealth:
To create a healing environment we need to map the gaps in the human experience and drive both efficiency and empathy into clinical care. Looking at the surgical experience there are so many gaps, and so many solutions. Instead of piles of forms, let patients pre-register online. Instead of a 5:30 cattle call, use communication and technology to help patients prepare and better predict scheduling. Instead of only informed consent, add informed hope by telling patients what can go right. Instead of loved ones sitting in limbo, use technology to communicate where patients are in the care journey. Instead of disconnected discharge, use care callbacks and tools to make sure discharge instructions and support make it home. And instead of leaving patients to fend for themselves, offer navigation to support them through their journey.
Edgar Staren, MD, PhD, MBA Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA):
Putting patients at the center of a highly-efficient care process is entirely possible. CTCA starts every shift every day by having every employee review the mission, vision, and values to remind them that patients and caring come first. They involve patients in board meetings, and solicit constant feedback – asking not just for the positive, but how they can improve. CTCA has devised a care model whereby a patient goes to a comfortable room, and the patient-empowered care (PEC) team rotates around them – so it’s not, “Mrs. Smith, Dr. Jones will see you now,” but “Dr. Jones, Mrs. Smith will see you now.”
Dan Hecht, CEO, MDVIP:
MDVIP seeks to transform the primary care doctor-patient relationship. Patients who join MDVIP are entitled to an in-depth executive physical, and 30-minute same- or next-day appointments when they need additional care. Patients get personalized wellness plans, and because doctors have the time and financial cushion to truly quarterback care, hospitalization rates are significantly lower than in mainstream populations, and rehospitalization is almost non-existent. That’s the true value of patient-focused primary care. Though the model is often lumped under the “concierge” moniker and thought to be reserved for wealthy patients, Hecht pointed out that 55% of MDVIP patients are Medicare patients.
Maverick Panel: Craig Albanese, MD, Mark Katz, MD, Steve Bates, MD, and Ben Maser, MD:
Mavericks are risk takers with the courage to lean into the wind. We learned a lot from these physician mavericks. They taught us that you have to take the long view on healing – like Dr. Katz who pioneered less-invasive robotic heart surgery because even though it takes longer on the table, patients get back to their lives and loves faster and with less pain. They taught us that Lean is an important element of improving the patient experience, because as Dr. Albanese pointed out, broken processes keep good people from delivering their best. They taught us that you don’t have to settle for the status quo, like Drs. Bates and Maser who started their own patient feedback company when they weren’t finding a solution that fit their needs. And they all taught us that we can find strength in each other’s passion to transform the healthcare experience.
Chef Bill Barum:
Former chef to the Saudi royal family and recent Senior Director of Hospitality at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Chef Bill created a dinner for attendees that went far beyond mere food. He created a three course feast designed to delight the palate and nourish the body. He described the use of “distractionary flavors” that lend an air of richness and depth to foods that have been prepared to be low salt and low fat. He showed us the power of Ayurvedic herbs and spices to bring sweetness to sugar-free desserts. And he described how he removed all deep fryers from the Cleveland Clinic and how hospital food can provide healing comfort, not just deliver bland calories. As one attendee put it mid-way through the second course, “Now this is an experience!”
More on Day 2 of this amazing event to follow.