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Member Spotlight - April 2017
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Stefan Agamanolis, PhD


Senior Director, Patient Experience
Akron Children’s Hospital
Akron, Ohio

In his role, Stefan leads the organization's Center for Patient Experience Innovation, which consists of patient experience measurement and analytics, PX improvement and staff development resources, patient relations, parent advisor and mentor programs and language access services. The mission at Akron Children's is “to transform the emotional and cognitive journey of patients and their families, supporting a culture of legendary service and integrating efforts across the organization to design and deliver distinctive experiences that consistently exceed expectations.”

WHAT IS YOUR MOST SIGNIFICANT ACCOMPLISHMENT IN YOUR ROLE?

About 5 years ago when we formed the department, my team developed a 4 hour Patient Experience Workshop to elevate staff awareness and alignment. Over the course of 3 years, we reached 99.7% of employed staff with the workshop and it is now built into the first morning of our new employee orientation flow. I am proud to say that I presented (together with many of my staff) at the vast majority of these sessions, which means I repeated the same material as well as jokes hundreds of times. It was exhausting, but I felt it was important to meet and make a human connection with everyone to propel this effort.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU ARE CURRENTLY FACING?

We are currently considering our strategy to get to “the next level” on our patient experience journey and recognizing the degree and nature of resource that will required to get there. In particular, we are working to build up meaningful support and resources to enable our medical staff to reach their full potential in patient experience and effective communication.

WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON THE FUTURE OF PATIENT EXPERIENCE?

Starting early in our effort at Akron Children’s, we tried to draw attention to research on how patient experience connects to the medical outcome, and I hope this becomes a larger part of the conversation in the industry in the future. For example, reducing stress and anxiety can strengthen the immune system, helping patients avoid infections or complications. Good communication and rapport with families not only reduces errors and safety events but also increases the confidence and ability of a caregiver to care for their child at home. This leads to better compliance with a prescribed treatment program and, in turn, a better long term outcome. Patient Experience is about much more than merely satisfying people.

WHAT DO YOU DO FOR FUN WHEN NOT WORKING?

I have 2 young kids, one currently 3 years and the other 10 months, so my time is very happily filled playing kitchen and doctor, as well as squirting water or digging holes outside; and marveling at the miracle of human learning and development all the while.

WHY DID YOU JOIN THE BERYL INSTITUTE?

I was drawn to the Beryl Institute for probably the same reason many others were – to connect and share ideas with a community of like-minded people who are facing many of the same challenges.

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