Becker's 10th Annual Meeting Speaker Series: 3 Questions with Ellen Feinstein, Vice President of Cancer Services for UChicago Medicine

Ellen Feinstein, RD, MHA, FACHE, serves as Vice President of Cancer Services for UChicago Medicine.

On April 3rd, Ellen will speak at Becker's Hospital Review 10th Annual Meeting. As part of an ongoing series, Becker's is talking to healthcare leaders who plan to speak at the conference, which will take place April 1-4, 2019 in Chicago.

To learn more about the conference and Ellen's session, click here.

Question: What do innovators/entrepreneurs from outside healthcare need to better understand about hospital and health system leaders?

Ellen Feinstein: I think the ability for innovators to partner with healthcare providers is key. Health system leaders face increasingly competitive and consolidating markets, and we are striving to differentiate and stay on the cutting edge of innovation, and taking new approaches to some old problems. I think entrepreneurs and start-ups need to know that healthcare leaders strive to remain receptive to new models and ideas, yet we tend to be risk-averse, somewhat bureaucratic, and may have a tougher time sorting out the numerous opportunities that are pitched to us, often on a daily basis. Some of the more forward thinking healthcare organizations have established incubators and think tanks that allow them to take risks and avail themselves of these entrepreneurial opportunities, in a measured way. They will be the ones who embrace startups, and be nimble in the decision making process.

Q: Tell us about the last meaningful interaction you had with a patient.

EF: Each month I have the privilege of hosting our Patient and Family Advisory Council dinner meetings. We bring together a diverse group of patients to help us improve our care delivery and experience, to make it better for the next patient. I always leave these meetings with a renewed sense of purpose and the “why” of what we as leaders can impact.

At our last meeting, we discussed their interest in representing the patient voice at our weekly new employee orientation sessions, as well as providing personal insights to our physician trainees. They feel it’s important to provide the patient perspective to our new and long-tenured employees and trainees, to inspire compassionate care and service, and to demonstrate that every single employee can make a difference in someone’s life, regardless of what their job or role is.

Q: Can you share some praise with us about people you work with? What does greatness look like to you when it comes to your team?

EF: I am honored to work with individuals and teams of selfless clinicians and staff who truly go above and beyond the call of duty on a daily basis. Our guiding principle in decisions and behaviors is always “What’s best for the patient?” Our organizational values embrace respect, integrity and excellence, among others. In addition to the sense of personal connections I see all around me, I pinch myself daily by the enormous intellectual capital and capabilities my colleagues share. Working in an academic medical center with a rich legacy of discovery is inspiring and gratifying. It’s a treat to come to work, knowing that I will learn something new every day.

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