Recapping #PESummit | Empathy + Innovation

"Empathy is something that's essential to us being human beings. The idea to look at our fellow men and women and see pain, happiness or suffering and feel that your self" Evan Peskin, Resident Physician, Conference Attendee.


Cleveland Clinic Patient Experience Summit 2018

Empathy + Innovation



A two day conference held during June 18-20 in Cleveland, OH

In attendance were stakeholders at all levels across the healthcare space including patients, clinicians, and decision makers. To gain perspectives on empathy through different lenses I spoke with the Cleveland Clinic staff, healthcare leaders, decision makers, and healthcare enthusiasts in regards to defining patient experience #PtExp. As well as predictions and future outlook for technology and humanism in healthcare.

Jessica Crow, MBA Program Manager IV, Center for Excellence in Healthcare Communication

Incorporating Patient Centrism  at the Center for Excellence in Healthcare Communications at the Cleveland Clinic

We focus on communication, empathy and just seeing people as people. Having real conversations, getting to know who they are, understanding their needs, what’s important to them, their families, their backgrounds. So that you can truly figure out how to care for the entire person.

Barriers Hindering Excellent in Patient Experience

Time! Time, is always an issue within communication and medicine. Whatever we do, the feedback we always hear is “well I don't have any time. I don't have time for that. I have to see more patients, or I don't have time to go to a class etc.”. I think that if we were to use some of the skills that we try to have people focus on, it actually saves you time. Time is always a barrier. Productivity; there's always an ask to do more and more with less and less, faster. We’re constantly trying to compete with that. What gets lost at times is that connection, seeing people as people, it then gets very robotic, monotonous, emotionless and cold.


When I hear it, what I think of is, somebody hearing me, somebody understanding what I’m going through, somebody almost feeling what I’m feeling and being able to recognize that for me. Not about themselves, not about anything else, but really thinking about what I'm going through at that time and how that must feel. When you get that genuine response in that moment, and feel like their actually listening to me, they actually understand how I’m feeling and that they care.


Joaquin Dos Reis, Program Manager, Global Education, Cleveland Clinic

Caring the Cleveland Clinic Way

I care about education, sharing information, I care about others, I care about our patients, our colleagues, caregivers, staff, everyone!

Empathy at the Global Education Department.

Empathy means everything. If you are a Cleveland Clinic caregiver, from the first time you park your car, you are in the Cleveland Clinic, you are a Cleveland Clinic caregiver. Part of that is that we have the opportunity to work with patients and work with colleagues and physicians from all over the world. We connect the dots, we bring international physicians to the Cleveland Clinic to meet our physicians and leaders.


Julie Rish, Ph.D., A Clinical Psychologist, Director of Design and Best Practice in the Office of Patient Experience | Director of Communication Skills Training and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic

Humanism in Medicine

I think that medicine is inherently human. The art of medicine without relationships--- We're not just technicians. Similarly, providing excellent patient experience is about meeting people in a very relational human way. Optimal healing can’t occur without the humanity of medicine and true understanding of another person sitting in front of you, without being able to empathize with your experience. Relationships are healing in and of themselves. When we're connecting as people it's healing to me as a clinician but it's also healing to the person that's sitting in front of me.

Barriers in Healthcare Delivery

There’s a lot of barriers that equal time and task pressure. How can I be present in this moment and not be thinking, three steps ahead or three steps behind but just to be present in the moment? When you do that you can find meaning and purpose in your work. The barrier is how do we overcome those obstacles to create moments of presence, being mindful and truly connecting a human level? In doing so, that's where we can find restoration and purpose and get back to why you chose this profession, this career, this entity in the first place.

Watch/Read The Entire Discussion


Richard I. Levin, MD, FACP, FACC, FAHA, President and CEO of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, a position he’s held since 2012.

Thoughts on Technology & Healthcare

Technological wonders need now to be incorporated as physicians had done for these two millennia into a system of practice and care that shares the responsibility for the care to the extent possible with the patient and the family. I think it's not so far away, it's not so difficult for us to figure out how to do that as long as this is an accepted goal of the entire system with each health system contributing to it to the best that they can.

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Michael Joseph, PMP is a chronic illness patient from Northern Virginia, currently the founder and C.E.O. of Prime Dimensions and Executive Director of Empathy. Health.

What I can do overall to contribute to the patient journey, patient’s experiences is that's the impetus for, part of that was influenced by what's going on here at the conference, Patient Experience Conference with Dr Adrienne Boissy, MD, MA who has been preaching this for quite some time long before empathy.Health came along.

Curating content from that site into ours would be great. In addition to other industry leaders and folks on Twitter that have really contributed dialogue as well. There’s Empathy Princess on Twitter, Merriman. There’s so many people on Twitter even today, the whole #pinksocks movement and tweet chats (#HCLDR) about this. It's a great platform for people to voice their opinions, their frustrations and best practices. Maybe, we can grab some of that and put that collectively on Empathy.Health as a resource.

Watch/Read the Entire Discussion


David Watson, MD. A physician surveyor for The Joint Commission

Healthcare Workers & Empathy

I think the empathy for me and the important part of this conference (#PESummit) is what I talked about earlier, thats second victim. These are healthcare workers that are involved in an adverse event. The empathy that needs to be expressed to them is that connection of realizing that they've been in a difficult situation and they need to be supported.

They need to be reassured and they need to know that they went into medicine for the right reasons. They take care of patients because they love what they do and they should continue to have that fire in their eye when they go to work every day to be totally engaged. We know that total engagement leads to less errors so we want our workforce to be engaged.

Watch/Read The Entire Discussion


Jason A Wolf, Ph.D. CPXP. Dr. Wolf is the President of The Beryl Institute

Patient Experience & Empathy

We did a research on empathy, compassion, all these kind of things. We asked consumers, to what extent empathy and compassion was important to them. I was actually surprise, it came down the list. I think it's because, empathy is a healthcare centric language. A typical patient and family member out there knows what they want to see. They want to feel listened to, they want to feel like they are being spoken to in a way they understand etc. Those were the things they elevated in terms of importance. For me the lens is not to get stuck in what empathy is but to think about what does it look like in action.

I’m probably less concerned about how we define empathy. How we elevate empathy and the actions that we take to ensure that patients, family members and those that are delivering care feel heard, are communicated to effectively, are engaged in ways that matters to them, then they feel what we believe empathy is. All of those things without having to put a label on it in a way that is about us doing something but more so about engaging the folks in care themselves.

Watch/Read The Entire Discussion


Claire Pfarr, Marketing Manager, Oneview

Thoughts on Patient Experience

Patient experience is one of those things I have found where no matter who you are, what walk of life you come from, when you’re speaking to people they all have a patient story. Everybody have a patient story. Whether they were a patient, or whether they were caring for a patient, everybody has healthcare experience that most often that's most often not necessarily a good one. I think that is very telling, but I think that healthcare has the opportunity to really take care of these people and to turn a negative situation into a very positive one.


Evan Peskin, Resident Physician | #PESummit Attendee

Thoughts on Empathy in Healthcare

Empathy is something that's essential to us being human beings. The idea to look at our fellow men and women and see pain, happiness or suffering and feel that your self. To be able to truly feel what someone else is going through. It's different from sympathy, it's not just feeling bad for someone else for what their going through. Empathy is truly experiencing or attempting to experience what the other person is going through.

Improving the Patient Experience

We improve the patient experience (as much as it's a cliche) by recognizing that everyone is a patient at one time or another. Even if you’re not the patient sitting in the hospital bed, you’re the family member standing next to your love one there. You improve the patient experience by taking the physician off the pedestal. Physicians should not be autonomous decision makers anymore without any input from patients and family members.


Kelsey Crowe, Ph.D | Founder of Help Each Other Out

Dr. Crowe, a plenary speaker at the #PESummit used real life examples of empathy in healthcare that were collected at the Help Each Other Out Empathy Bootcamp  

Empathy Examples

  • It really made a difference when my nurse: stood by my side and made physical contact with me during my biopsy. It was so comforting and reduced my anxiety. Thank you!

  • A UCSF staff person (receptionist, security guard, health aid) made me feel better when: let me lie down on the couch to rest and even dimmed the lights for me.

  • Something my doctor did or said that really comforted me: Gave me a hug.

Dr. Crowe then stated These are often recalled years later.

  • The receptionist/scheduler has been so helpful when: She moved another appointment by 10 minutes so that I could have my very first appointment after diagnosis with the surgeon, without having to wait 3 weeks.

"I can't tell you how often people describe this kind of behavior by schedulers and receptionist" Kelsey Crowe, Ph.D

Read/Watch More on Empathy & Healthcare


Social Media Activities & #PESummit 

During the summit Colin Hung posed a crucial question, challenging the glory of patient experience to the #HCLDR tweet-chat community “Have We Reached Peak Patient Experience?”. Read more on Hubberts Peak Theory, Colin's rationale and thoughts on patient experience via the  Healthcare Leadership Blog

For More On The Cleveland Clinic Patient Experience Summit 2018 Check-out

#PESummit | Website

Framing Health & Healthcare in the U.S | #USOW2018

United State of Women 2018 Summit "Barriers Were Meant To Be Broken"

#USOW2018  occurred on May 5th - 6th at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles California. Day one events included center stage speakers for opening and closing, with breakout sessions throughout the day for discussions on social, economical and political issues in the United States.

  1. Diving into the issue of caregivers in the health care environment, arose the topic of domestic caregiving workers. Ai-jen Pooof the National Domestic Workers Alliance and Caregiving Across Generations, brought the issues faced by these workers to the forefront. Emphasizing that domestic workers are often the unseen in caregiving, although they provide care to the most vulnerable populations in the U.S.  

  2. Los Angeles Major Eric Garcettia supported women’s health and reproductive rights stating “the right to control your own body and health, these aren’t partisan issues, these are human rights”.

  3. Jane Fonda actress, author, activist, and fitness advocate brought to light specific health barriers, need for community investments, policy reform and the role of stigmatization among lower income and black communities. She stated “addiction in your community isn't considered a public health crisis or an existential community crisis. Oh no. No clinic is going to be built in your neighborhood and if one of your sons is convicted for his small stash of pot and imprisoned he's no longer eligible for food stamps, public housing or student loans”.

  4. Patrisse Cullors, Author of “When They Call You a Terrorist” and Co Founder of Black Lives Matter shared the very personal story of her brother, the criminal justice system, police brutality and mental illness. “Monty had just turned 20 and was already displaying signs of mental illness when in August 1999 he took our mother's car on a joyride in the San Fernando Valley, teenage shit. After fleeing the police he was arrested on charges of abating an officer. The mistreatment he remembers took place while he was awaiting trial”. Continuing, she stated “Monty was in a precarious mental state, he was diagnosed with schizoaffective and bipolar disorder while in jail. And while he was being transported after a psychiatric evaluation he was beaten by four or five deputies. Monty was choked and he blacked out and he awoke in a pool of his own blood. Abusive treatment continued and when my brother was moved to Twin Towers jail he and many people would say “It was torture”. In closing “My brother was ultimately convicted of battery on an officer and the original charge of abating police and sentenced to forty months in state prison. By the time he told the story of his treatment in jail to a lawyer it was too late to sue”.

  5. Lillibeth Navarro, from Communities Actively Independent and Free, uncovered the reality of legislation that gave way for mobility among those that are depending on mobile aides to explore their surroundings and environment. She stated “Finally the American with Disabilities Act was signed into law on July 26, 1990. So for the first the first time in our lives people with wheelchairs could go out with friends, on a date, they could work, travel. I just been to DC last week. People with visual and sensory disabilities could touch, feel and see their environment”. She continued “Those with mental and learning disabilities became part of this human experience of exploring what life is about. We rose from obscurity to visibility. And even started an international revolution, transforming other countries and inspiring them to create access for all people”.

  6. Highlighting social determinants of health through the scope of homelessness in relation to poverty Renata Smiril President and CEO of LA84 Foundation spoke on behalf of Greater United Way of Greater Los Angeles pointing out “we have much to be proud of here in Los Angeles. We’re the most diverse city in the country. The most diverse city with boundless opportunities for success. The perfect place to pursue your dreams, but unfortunately not everyone in Los Angeles are sharing all the opportunities this great city has to offer. And far too many of our fellow Angelinos are homeless and living on the street”. She continued “Listen to this Close 60,000 men and women, families and children are without a place to call home. 60,000 And nearly 18,000 of our sisters, our daughters, our mothers are sleeping on the streets today and that's a 17% increase just one year. As we all know life on the street is more dangerous for women, children, in our families. But you know what, the United Way of Greater Los Angeles the lead on the challenge of ending homelessness 10 years ago. Continuing by listing ways in which United Way of LA has affected change she stated “We’ve made connections, took action. We’ve marched, tweeted , made calls, hosted events, lobbied our elected officials, testified, integrated new technology, shared stories and created a movement with our community partners to pass two valid initiatives that will provide over five billion dollars. Five billion dollars to build housing and provide homeless services for the L.A County over the next 10 years”.

  7. As the afternoon progressed, with more speakers discussing health issues, Julie Miller-Phipps President of Kaiser Foundation began the discussion of mental health and women. With May being mental health awareness month, the timing couldn't of been more perfect! She began “what we can to create an environment in this century, in California, in Southern California where mental wellness is really what we talk about. We have conversations that started this morning about stigma and breaking down the stigmas of mental health and we need to continue those conversations this afternoon”. Speaking on the issue of depression, she stated “depression plus the complications that go along with that. Sleep disorders, anxiety, substance abuse, they're expecting sixteen million Americans today it's country. It chips away at our ability to work, to care for our loved ones, our relationships and our very sense of self-worth. Women experience depression and anxiety at twice the rate of men. Twice the rate and yet many women won’t seek help. If we do we think we're being selfish or we're going to take time away from our families, or we’re being weak. It’s not weak. Were often told tough it out, be resilient. Further elaborating on the issue stigma and mental health, “some well intention words cause us to become a prisoner of fear, of self-judgment and cause us to keep from reaching out. This is the very definition of stigma right. It’s negative that it can have and yet there is treatment. There is treatment and there is hope. 80% of people who seek treatment for depression see improvement, 80%. And so how do we bridge the gap? How do we get from here to there? Stigma drives silence and silence drives stigma. It's only like being vocal, by speaking up, by not being silent that we can open the doors for others so that they can come into the light and seek help. So I'm asking you today to find your words, find your words and help others find theirs”.

  8. Vanessa Danniel from Groundswell Action Fund powerfully explained the importance of gender, racial equity and inclusion saying “As I look out on this crowd of every gender and every hue I know in my bones that the kind of America that I want to live in is one where all of us are free to be whole in our humanity.

  9. Selena Vasquez, from Planned Parenthood LA one call to action pertaining to reproductive health. She requested “the one call to action is that we have right now we invest in our youth. We do that every day in Los Angeles by way of one of our programs called The Peer Advocates Program. These are the leaders in our communities that are making change every single day around reproductive health care and justice and all of the issues that we care so deeply about right now".

  10. Jennifer Torez a former teen peer advocate spoke on having the outlet of Planned Parenthood LA. She expressed “growing-up there is no space to talk about sex, sex health, reproductive health. Reproductive justice was not---no one talked about that. So in my sophomore year I became involved with peer advocate program at my high school King Drew Magnet. I became a peer advocate and ever since then I’ve continued to advocate for my community, advocate for myself. She continued “obviously I love Planned Parenthood because they build a bridge between community and health care access for the fight for reproductive justice. As a peer advocate I’ve been taught and I’ve been trained to be an educator on giving comprehensive sex health, nonjudgmental information, reliable information which is very important. And in essence our duty is to empower those who don’t feel that they have a voice”.

  11. Speaking on sexual violence Tarana Burke founder of #MeToo and Girlf for Gender Equity. She asserted “What will history say about us in this moment? I believe that we are entering a period of answers. 2017 asked -When will it be time for a reckoning around sexual violence?” 2018 said "Now". 2017 asked "Who will speak for the children?" and then 2018 the children said "We will". The fact is we have the answers right here, right now. We are the answers. Women from all walks of life across the gender spectrum, race, class spectrum, we have the answers.

  12. The afternoon culminated with keynote speaker, and former first lady of the U.S Michelle Obama, who’s call to action was “we've got a lot of work to do before we're focused on the “Who”. Cause we're the “Who”. We are the answer. All of here in the room are the answer to our own problems, it is not finding the one right person that we think can save us from ourselves. It’s us. So we got to do that work internally”.

Thoughts on U.S health care System | #USOW2018