In his hospital PX role, Tom is as a physician liaison to his organization's Patient Experience (PX) department. He offers clinical insights, plants seeds with the medical staff (e.g., Open Notes), assists with system-wide PX improvement projects and brings a people-centered (i.e., both patient and staff experience) perspective to leadership meetings. Tom also serves on the organization's “Road to Zero Harm” Committee and focuses on operational efficiency across the continuum of acute unscheduled care –emergency medicine, immediate care, walk-in clinics and (soon) telemedicine visits. He strives to actively promote the triple aim and improve brand loyalty through exceptional service.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST SIGNIFICANT ACCOMPLISHMENT IN YOUR ROLE?
One accomplishment was co-creating G.R.E.A.T.™ (see GreatServiceStandard.com), a communication framework taught to our 7,000 employees using polished videos and other teaching collateral. This free program is being used by many systems across the country. I also participated in a turnaround of our immediate care centers after they were recently moved to our service line. We catalyzed the same degree of service delivery as exists in our emergency departments, which is top-decile satisfaction, 15-minute door-to-provider times and top quality care.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU ARE CURRENTLY FACING?
Our system consists of three hospitals, and I work with our PX department to knock down silos, create PX enthusiasm and align our different cultures in to one that defines us as a safe, seamless and personal source of care for our community. While all this sounds great, the necessary behavior modification is the real challenge.
WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON THE FUTURE OF PATIENT EXPERIENCE?
U.S. hospitals are faced with severe economic pressures related to government payers paying below cost and private payers reducing the degree of cost shifting we have come to rely on. While the definition of great healthcare evolves, we must maintain the humanness in what we do. Emotional care is often more effective than physical care (something I did not learn in medical school). We should also curb our CAHPS whack-a-mole tendencies and focus on delivering brand loyalty via exceptional care and caring.
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR FUN WHEN NOT WORKING?
I play plenty of tennis and am pretty good for an older guy! Additionally, I revived my past life as a computer programmer by architecting software for a small technology company (Smart-ER.net) that intends to improve aspects of the triple aim. Finally, I love going on warm vacations with my family to combat Chicago winters.
WHY DID YOU JOIN THE BERYL INSTITUTE?
The Beryl Institute conferences are the best gathering of like-minded PXers, and I look forward to showing many of you my favorite Chicago hangouts this April. Moreover, the Institute is the center of a grassroots community focused more on improving the patient experience and less on corporate interests.