Becker's 9th Annual Meeting Speaker Series: 3 Questions Northwell Health Chief Experience Officer, Sven Gierlinger

Sven Gierlinger serves as Chief Experience Officer for Northwell Health.

On April 12th, Sven Gierlinger will give a presentation at Becker's Hospital Review 9th 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 11-14, 2018 in Chicago.

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

Gierlinger Sven Headshot

 

Question: Who or what are the disruptors that have your attention? Why?

Sven Gierlinger: We are living in a time when patients are increasingly in demand of various consumer technologies to help them become more engaged in their own healthcare journey. Treating patients as consumers in order to deliver the seamless, consistent experiences they desire – has generated a surge of healthcare disruptors.

From ordering a taxicab through Lyft or Uber, having your favorite items delivered directly to your home with one simple click through Amazon, or just taking a look at what the travel/airline industry has done for customer personalization and convenience – these disruptors have literally changed our daily lives over the last decade and are now impacting almost every facet of healthcare as well. These companies have shifted their service models from ‘do it for us’, to ‘do it myself’ and in turn, this is now what we yearn for and actually prefer.

My years at The Ritz-Carlton opened my perspective to what guests really want – and it’s much more than crystal chandeliers, marble floors and fancy ocean views. It is the consistency of service delivered through highly engaged and empowered people that make the difference. This is the same in health care. Patients and families have high expectations, are informed and have the power of choice. Therefore, we must always look at experience through different lenses. Instead of resisting the disruptors, our success is reliant on us embracing and partnering with them. By learning from service industry experts outside of health care, we can better explore how to infuse best practice into the complex environment of health care today.

Q: What did you notice about your healthcare experience the last time you were at the receiving end as a patient?

SG: My last major personal healthcare experience happened during a time when I was a father of two young children and at the start of a new assignment with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. First came a tingling in my fingers and toes; and within days, I was paralyzed. I was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare condition in which a rapid-onset muscle weakness caused by the immune system attacks and temporarily damages the peripheral nervous system. Suddenly, and for 90 days and nights, I was 100% dependent on my doctors, nurses, and therapists.

Believe it or not, I’m actually grateful for this experience, as it showed me that as a patient, you are challenged to heal in many ways – physically, mentally, and emotionally. My experience in these moments helped me understand the power of embedding both service and empathy into the clinical processes that truly can make or break a patient or family experience. Years after my own experience as a patient, I still believe healthcare is the noblest vocation in the world. When I reflect on the many milestones and accomplishments in patient experience at Northwell Health, I keep my eye on the horizon and challenge myself to ask what’s next. We know that, in healthcare, every moment counts—and success means making every role, every person, and every moment matter.

Q: All healthcare is local. What about your market influences your organization's business or operations most?

SG: As one of the nation’s largest healthcare systems, with over 22 hospitals and nearly 600 outpatient facilities across the New York metropolitan area, we understand at Northwell that our market reach is expansive and diverse. This requires a consistent care experience that our patients and families rely on and trust. With consumerism on the rise, patients more than ever have a choice. Our patients and customers are our top priority and this is what continues to drive the focus of our business and operation decisions. Walking down any New York City block, you are surrounded by an incredibly diverse marketplace with demanding customers and cutting-edge competition. The challenge then becomes – what makes us stand apart from our competitors? We feel the deciding factor is always, experience. Charged by our president and chief executive officer, Michael J. Dowling, Northwell has rallied around infusing innovation around every aspect of care delivery. As a result, we have seen true patient experience innovation impact transparency, access to care, care models, digital utilization, throughput, education, and real-time feedback. It is our dedication to curate new ideas, and think ‘what if?’ that has fostered a culture of innovation throughout our organization. This spirit of inquiry is not only supported, but it is encouraged among our teams. This continuous journey is what drives our ability to break the status quo when delivering on the wishes and desires of our patients and families.

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