Becker's 11th Annual Meeting: 4 Questions with Shannon Phillips, Chief Patient Experience Officer at Intermountain Healthcare

Shannon Phillips, MD, MPH, FAAP, SFHM, CPPS, serves as Chief Patient Experience Officer at Intermountain Healthcare. 

On April 8th, Dr. Phillips will serve on the panel "Three Strategies to Improve the Patient Experience" at Becker's Hospital Review 11th 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 on April 6-9, 2020 in Chicago.

To learn more about the conference and Dr. Phillips' session, click here.

Question: What's one lesson you learned early in your career that has helped you lead in healthcare?

Shannon Phillips: Culture matters. And those closest to the work have THE BEST ideas for how we can bring our best to those we serve. I guess that is two. Healthcare is complicated and we are always working to improve the systems in which we work. Improvement is created and sustained by caregivers, working with our patients, to design the optimal ways to serve them. Nurturing a culture of improvement and safety must be intentional and is found in the best organizations today.

Q: Where do you go for inspiration and fresh ideas?

SP: I read a lot, listen to our patients and talk with people in and outside our industry to make sure I am always curious and pushing what’s possible. The best creative thinking usually comes on a good long hike in the Utah mountains and national parks.

Q: What do you see as the most exciting opportunity in healthcare right now?

SP: There are so many. Meeting the challenge to focus on keeping people well rather than being a system nearly exclusively set up to care for those who are sick is our biggest opportunity and the most exciting. Leveraging all the people, process and technology available in our industry and beyond will allow us to identify the right work to sustainably reduce cost and improve health. I am excited about the work we are doing at Intermountain Healthcare to intentionally grow our accountability for the health of larger populations in service of helping people live the healthiest lives possible.

Q: Healthcare has had calls for disruption, innovation and transformation for years now. Do you feel we are seeing that change? Why or why not?

SP: We have heard ‘disruption is coming’ and the ‘US cannot afford healthcare’ for years now! It has finally arrived. Health care remains unaffordable for most, even those who are insured (high deductibles). More care can and should be done in ambulatory or home settings. Some care are a commodity, such as strep throat or other sick care concerns and others such as routine physical exams are joining the list. As consumers prioritize affordability and convenience, online care and ‘clinics’ at pharmacies or other retailers are gaining momentum and other industries are entering the healthcare marketplace. There is no doubt this will push traditional healthcare providers to transform themselves to meet the needs of those served.

"What's one lesson you learned early in your career that has helped you lead in healthcare?
The greatest lessons I learned in healthcare were three things on my first day of medical school: “listen to your patients they will tell you what is wrong, don’t be over-enamored with technology, and give every patient something for their time of need”. More true today!

What do you see as the most exciting opportunity in healthcare right now?
With society’s obsession with technology, now is the time to harness cutting edge technology to facilitate the human interaction, not replace it.

Healthcare has had calls for disruption, innovation and transformation for years now. Do you feel we are seeing that change? Why or why not?
As the saying goes, “One person’s innovation is another person’s disruption”. Transformation may be the most over-used word in healthcare today. True transformation (dramatic change) will come from a grass roots movement (outside the corporate walls) and led by synthetical thinkers who by doing what is best for patients will find it is best for business."

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