Friday, January 27, 2012

Arab Health Leaders in Healthcare: The Patient Experience

Our final speaker at Arab Health was Children’s National President and CEO Kurt D. Newman, MD. Dr. Newman was joined on this panel discussion by Stuart Leatherby, MD, MEA, Aetna International, and Marc Harrison, MD, CEO, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. The session was moderated by James Merlino, MD, Chief Experience Officer, Cleveland Clinic. The dynamic panel offered interesting perspectives because it not only captured how and why innovative hospital leaders are emphasizing patient experience improvements, but also the value that medical payers (like insurance companies) are beginning to place on systems that create inviting and supportive environments for people requiring care.

Dr. Newman shared how Children’s National is focused on four integrated initiatives that improve how our patients and families experience our hospital: quality, safety, service excellence/customer service, and access to care. By uniting these efforts to improve, we can keep one thing at the core of our efforts: doing what’s best for children and their families. Prior to the conference, Dr. Newman provided a summary of his talk via a short video message to potential attendees.

There was much discussion on this panel about the tangible financial benefits of improving the patient experience. In general, though, the participants agreed on two specific points:  
  1. The patients must always come first. As Dr. Newman put it, if you maintain your team’s focus on improving the quality of the care and service that families receive, the benefits of that, including financial ones, naturally follow.
  2. Any successful system to improve service must come with a commitment from leaders at the very top. Without leadership buy-in and dedication to improving outcomes in quality and service, nothing will change.