Posts Tagged ‘Hospitals’

Cleveland Clinic

The 2011 Patient Experience Empathy + Innovation Summit is Hosted by Cleveland Clinic

This week we’re in Cleveland for the Patient Experience Empathy + Innovation Summit. Here’s a bit of what we’ve overheard so far…

Academic Medical Centers Challenged by HCAHPS
A SVP at a large suburban academic medical center said that when they stopped benchmarking themselves against teaching hospitals and started benchmarking against more community-based hospitals, they found that EVERY score they had was in the red. Needless to say, the academic medical center is now fully mobilizing to address this.

The SVP confided that, for the first time in her tenure there, they’re actually setting goals to reach the median score and not the upper percentile. This is because they needed an incremental goal since they were so far below the upper percentile groups. Bottom line, even financially healthy organizations in highly affluent areas are struggling with this new reality.

New Regulations Tough on Coaching
A VP of Patient Affairs at an academic medical center noted that new HCAHPS regulations (out this month) are strict on hospitals attempting to coach patients ahead of surveys. As a result, the medical center has taken down signage regarding surveys and has stopped surveying patients in house since this could lead to them addressing concerns in real time that could “stack the deck” when it comes to the HCAHPS survey.

To Succeed, First Choose Where to Fail
Speaker Ananth Raman of Harvard Business School says managing expectations is just as much about what you want to not excel at as much as it is about where you want to thrive. He used Walmart as an example. Walmart is great at size, but not ambiance or depth of product selection within categories.

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Dr. James Merlino, Cleveland Clinic Chief Experience Officer

From May 22-24, Cleveland Clinic will host the second annual Patient Experience Empathy + Innovation Summit. We invited Dr. James Merlino, Cleveland Clinic’s Chief Experience Officer, to join us for a quick conversation and answer the questions our readers want to know.

– What is the Summit?
– Why is it important?
– And why should busy healthcare executives attend?

Click below to hear his answers as we start our new Podcast Shorts series.


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Dr. Stephen Lawless, Nemours

Dr. Stephen Lawless has spent much of his career treating the sickest of the sick in pediatric intensive care units. Saving lives requires teamwork, attention to detail and clear lines of communication between parents and physicians. Now he’s taking the ICU lessons across the hospital and across pediatric medicine.

Hear from an expert how to keep your child safe the next time you head to the hospital.

Click below to play.


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Dr. Matthew Wynia, Director American Medical Association Institute for Ethics

Effective communication is one of the most important elements in achieving quality care. As readers of this blog know well, one key aspect of communication is understanding and responding to a patient’s level of understanding, or health literacy.

In recent work, we found that a patient’s perception of the overall communication climate in a hospital or clinic is directly related to the patient’s literacy level – as measured using Chew’s validated questions about understanding health information, confidence in filling out forms, and needing help reading health-related materials.

At first glance, this finding might seem obvious. Of course quality of communication will affect patient understanding and use of health information.  Yet our results also point to a larger, and often overlooked, dilemma facing organizations that want to improve the care they provide to lower literacy patients. In short, there’s much more to addressing health literacy than focusing on health literacy. (more…)

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Dr. Neel T. Shah, a physician based at Harvard Medical School

Medical bills are a leading cause of financial hardship and doctors decide what goes on the bill.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the United States spends $700 billion dollars each year on tests and treatments that do not measurably improve health outcomes–a figure comparable to our total spending on the Iraq War. And here is where things become truly awkward: few doctors understand how the decisions they make impact what patients pay for care.

Let’s recap. Medical bills are bankrupting Americans, doctors decide what goes on the bill ($700 billion dollars of which might not need to be there), and doctors rarely have information about what things cost. That seems like something we ought to fix, doesn’t it?

If you agree and have a story to tell about it, there could be $1000 in it for you. Remember a time you got a medical bill that was higher than you expected it to be? Or a time when you wanted to know how much a test or treatment might cost and couldn’t find out? Costs of Care, a Boston-based nonprofit, is offering $1000 for short anecdotes illustrating the importance of cost awareness in medicine. We want to hear your story.

The submissions will be judged by a high profile crew of policymakers, doctors, and journalists that include Atul Gawande, Michael Dukakis, Jeffrey Flier, Michael Leavitt, and Tim Johnson. Submissions will be due by November 1st to Additional details are available at

Dr. Neel Shah is the executive director of, and a resident in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston.

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October is Health Literacy Month and Engaging the Patient will be marking the event in style. We’ve collected a roster of national experts to blog their own takes on the challenges of health literacy in America. Over the course of October, we’ll hear from academics, clinicians, writers, economists and patients themselves.

We’ll kick off the month on Wednesday with an essay by Engaging the Patient’s own Geri-Lynn Baumblatt, Editorial Director of Emmi Solutions. Geri will discuss why health literacy is important to her and why she decided to enlist the help of health literacy experts to blog about the topic over the coming month.

Then next week, Engaging the Patient will host its first podcast– an interview with Health Literacy Month founder, Helen Osborne. Helen will discuss the history of health literacy and why effective communication is about much more than a grade-level score.

From there the guest-essays will come fast and furious. We have 8 guest bloggers in 4 weeks—all right here on Engaging the Patient.

For more information on our guest authors, visit our Health Literacy Month page.

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Dr. James Merlino, Cleveland Clinic Chief Experience Officer

When I first heard the “Patients First” creed years ago as a fellow training at Cleveland Clinic, I thought to myself, “We’re doctors; when do we ever not put patients first?”

As I moved beyond my training and into practice, I encountered patients who were facing more than just a disease or a condition. They and their families were facing uncertainty, anxiety and fear.

I have learned that just trying to fix a patient’s medical problem—especially a chronic disease or a difficult diagnosis that could not be treated —and only focusing on the patient’s medical care was not enough. To be a successful clinician, I had to support the person, to support their family. I had to provide great caring.  That’s what it means to put patients first.

The realization was visceral, and to a large extent, it has animated my career.

But gut-level feelings alone do not drive premiere evidence-based institutions like Cleveland Clinic. As Chief Experience Officer, I must demonstrate an impact and measure value. And as we talk with other healthcare organizations nationwide, I must answer a simple question.

Why should top hospitals care about the patient experience? (more…)

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