Leadership & Management Healthcare leaders Q&A on how Human Understanding influences mission and culture

NRC Health, the leading provider of in-depth customer insights in healthcare, recently interviewed several nationally recognized healthcare leaders on the critical role Human Understanding plays in healthcare to drive growth, personalize care, build trust, drive loyalty and equity, transform services, and exceed expectations.

Leaders from high-performing organizations will join for the 28th Annual NRC Health Symposium on August 21-23 in Seattle to focus on ‘Human Understanding—Connecting through Stories” to compose a plan for the industry’s future. For the first time, NRC Health offers new tracks for executives and board members to challenge the status quo and help organizations evolve patient-experience strategies beyond measurement to pursue truly personalized care.

Here’s a look at how prestigious healthcare leaders answered how Human Understanding influences the mission and culture of their organizations.

Q. How does Human Understanding translate to your organizational mission and culture?

A unified mission to care and build relationships

“They say if you walked the halls of NASA in the 1960s and bumped into a janitor and asked them what their job was, they would have said, ‘I put a man on the moon,’” says Ken Kozielski, Vice President of Customer Experience at Orlando Health. “Here, we want every person to say, ‘I build relationships.’ Patients are an important part of our customer base, but we’re defining customers as anybody we would ask to choose Orlando Health. And the experience is everything—every touchpoint in sequence, from the time they figure out there’s a health system called Orlando Health through their entire continuum of care. We want to build relationships with everybody. We really believe that that’s what’s going to make us stand out.”

“At ChristianaCare, our CEO, Dr. Janice Nevin, often says that our mission is profound but simple: we take care of people,” says Mike Puchtler, Vice President of Patient Experience at Christiana

Care Health System. “I think Human Understanding really does create that connection and allow us to care for people in the ways that are most meaningful to them. As we all know in the patient-experience base, there’s a lot of literature that connects an improved patient experience with better quality and safety outcomes, so I think for us, really leaning into Human Understanding culturally allows us to achieve that mission of taking care of people.”

Seeing each patient as a unique person

Jennifer Baron, CPXP, Chief Experience Officer at UC Davis Health, says their mission is about the future of healthcare. “We need to include our patients and families in helping us design programs and services that are forward-facing and meaningful to the people we serve,” she says.

“Human understanding is a critically important part of what we do,” explains Steve Telliano, M.A., Assistant Vice Chancellor of Strategic Communications for UC Davis Health. “We’ve been rolling out a campaign about ‘See Me As a Person,’ which is about understanding the individual patient. It’s not just patients in the aggregate, but it’s an understanding that every patient is unique. Every patient has different needs and perceptions, and they’re in different places, and we need to meet them there. But at the same time, there are also some things that we can do that are good for all patients.”

Telliano says it’s really about understanding what the organization can do to improve the patient experience in the big picture. “How can we make it smoother, easier, and more accessible for patients to get care?” he says. “Then we move beyond that to personalize that care, so patients feel seen, heard, and understood—then we’ve really made a personal connection.”

Understanding that care happens outside the hospital walls

“Human Understanding is truly baked into our entire ecosystem at Nemours Children’s Health, from the very highest level,” says Kira Theesfeld, Manager of Strategic Partnerships at Nemours Children’s Health. “When we think about our bold strategy to redefine children’s health, we are very aware that 80% of the health for a child happens outside the walls of our facilities, and embracing social determinants and taking care of that whole child is a big part of what we do.

“Within my team at the Center for Health Delivery Innovation, we are always focused on the family and the healthcare journey and optimizing that,” Theesfeld adds. “We think about how we can make it simpler and help patients and families understand, whether it’s a complex medical condition or a diagnosis. We develop tools and content to make health simpler and less scary and improve the experience.”

When healthcare organizations lead with Human Understanding by treating each person as unique, they will be more than ready to meet future challenges.

The 28th Annual NRC Health Symposium, August 21–23 in Seattle, will cover topics like “The Radical Common Sense of Human Understanding,” along with other topics that explore the meaning of connecting through stories. Register at nrchealth.com/symposium22.

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