"What Patients Say" Conference Countdown

09.20.2018 • Senem Guney, PhD, CPXP

Screen Shot 2018-09-20 at 2.54.20 PMThe patient’s voice is helping to transform almost every aspect of the healthcare delivery model. Shifting policy, population health efforts, digital health strategies, and service models that seek to engage patients in new ways have all presented their challenges.  

This October, a first-of-its-kind event “What Patients Say” will bring together academics and industry leaders to discuss the evolution of the patient experience (PX) field and its growing role in collecting, analyzing and acting on the patient’s voice in comments.  

Ahead of our travels to the Windy City and the Rush University Medical Center, I spoke with the event’s co-organizer, Francis Fullam about how he hopes to see the leaders in research and industry collaborate to drive transformation in their own organizations.

Below are excerpts from our conversation:

Guney: Could you briefly talk about the PX conference series by the Rush University Medical Center? And what was the impetus behind this year's conference theme about what patients say?

Fullam: I have been involved in what used to be University HealthSystems Consortium, which is now Vizient, since my time at the University of Chicago Hospitals, where I started a conference series on patient experience. I brought this series to the Rush University Medical Center with the idea to share best practices in PX improvement among academic medical centers. The previous conferences in this series were limited to a specific geography in the hospital setting, such as the ER or the hospitalist program around specific topics related to PX metrics and measurement; for example, the rollout of ED-CAHPS.

We wanted to step back and see what we are not doing that we should be focusing more on when it comes to improving PX. We have been successful with surveys as measurement tools and as guidance for what to improve in PX but we have also hit some limitations with ratings from surveys, and we always need to get better. Common themes around patients’ comments emerged in discussions with colleagues, especially now that we are able to do interesting things with patients’ comments through new technology - things that have significant impact on reducing risk and improving quality.

Guney: How did you decide who to invite as speakers?

Fullam: My long-time colleague Dale Shaller has been involved in the AHRQ project on the design and implementation of the CAHPS Patient Narrative Elicitation Protocol. He has been an early leader in collecting and making patient feedback public; and now he has been part of bringing a scientific approach to patients’ comments. Since his involvement in this project, he has connected and interacted with academic and industry leaders in this space. We chose our speakers mostly based on our contacts and knowledge of who is doing the most interesting and relevant work in this space.

Guney: What are your goals for the participants in the conference? And do you plan to repeat this conference theme in the following years?

Fullam: We hope to create cross-fertilization of ideas exchanged at this conference. We hope that participants will leave with an appreciation of what is within the realm of possibility in collecting and analyzing patients’ comments. We expect that participants will learn about each other’s approaches and develop best practices on shared questions, such as "How do you track and improve experience from patients' comments?"

Guney: I am personally very excited to participate in this timely public discussion on patients’ comments as evidence basis in improving PX. I am looking forward to speaking at this conference.

Fullam: We are looking forward to having you with us.



Francis Fullam began working with the predecessor of the HCAHPS survey with the Picker-Commonwealth project in 1989. His work at academic medical centers since then has touched on the intersection of the patient experience, consumer perceptions and quality. As Senior Director of Marketing Research and Assistant Professor of Health Systems Management at Rush University Medical Center, he teaches graduate courses on the patient experience, conducts national conferences on improving the patient experience and publishes on the topic. He is co-author of the chapter on surveying patients in the 2014 John Wiley & Son publication, “Handbook of Health Survey Methods.”

Senem Guney, PhD, CPXP

Senem Guney, PhD, CPXP

Founder and Chief Patient Experience Officer, NarrativeDx

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