14 takeaways from Gel Health 2009

Gel Health, the 1-day conference on Patient Experience, was held in New York City this week. Since this was my first Gel Conference I wasn't sure what to expect. But by mid-morning break I too had joined the tribe of Gel devotees.

I wish I could share the complete experience with you, but it would be impossible to capture the attention of the audience, the sound of laughter (and tears) in the theater, the thrill we felt listening to the steady drumbeat of what's right in health care (in a time when all we hear is what is so wrong). So, while I took pages of notes, the 14 takeaways below are not quotes as much as they are my paraphrasing of speakers' thoughts that made an impact on me:
  1. We need food, housing, [health care], jobs…yes. But we also need roses. Cathy Salit, CEO Performance of a Lifetime
  2. The [health care] system is designed to deliver technology . . . it is designed for the doctor, surgeon, health care worker, but not the patient. Bridget Duffy Former Chief Experience Officer, Cleveland Clinic
  3. It was risky . . . but I went forward. [I learned that] when you’ve played together, you work differently together. Sharon Krumm, Director of Nursing, Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center
  4. Cooking is a disruptive technology in Health Care . . . [And a related thought:] Is it medical error to offer sodas and high sodium foods in a hospital setting? John LaPluma, ChefMD
  5. We need courageous, “True North” style leaders in the C-Suite of every hospital out there. We also need Patient Advisory Councils. Dan Ford, Patient Advocate
  6. 2/3 of medical errors are not disclosed. And yet, “To err is human, to forgive divine. “ [Patients and providers] must move toward forgiveness. Sigall Bell, MD, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital
  7. The focus is on living [not on dying]. Living is what will get you through. Mark Pochapin, Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health
  8. Dancing is one of the most pleasurable experiences... I wanted to do something different. I did not want to contribute to a person self-identifying with their disease. Olie Westheimer, Founder, Dance for PD, with Mark Morris
  9. Good experience isn’t just about storytelling; it's about performance. Mark Hurst, Founder Gel Conferences
  10. Patient experience must take into account a person’s environment . . . where they come from, their level of health literacy. You don’t know what you don’t know. Javette Orgain, MD, Family Physician, Chairperson, Illinois State Board of Health
  11. Once when one of our clowns was juggling in the ICU, a doctor said, “Clowns don’t belong in the ICU.” To which I replied, “Neither do children.” Michael Christensen, Founder of The Big Apple Circus and Clown Care
  12. This was not something I figured out in an Excel spreadsheet . . . We hire people because they are talented AND because they are willing to be vulnerable. Michael Christensen, Founder of The Big Apple Circus and Clown Care
  13. The more I looked into the eyes of the homeless, the more I saw myself . . . People have layers and layers that need to be peeled back. [The way we practice conventional medicine] is not reality based; it suits a billing structure, or a hospital setting . . . but it doesn’t fit us. Jim Withers, MD, Founder Operation Safety Net
  14. The patient has been saved . . . and now what do you do? . . . We were becoming therapists. Then our son said, “I want you as my Dad not as my therapist.” Ken Trush, Co-Founder of Daniel’s Music
I look forward to staying connected with new friends and to attending Gel Health again next year. Won't you join us? Sign up here for Gel Health 2010.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting these!
    My, you are so human and grounded for being the "Ex-Experience Officer" from Cleveland Clinic.

    I appreciate #2.

    Adrienne Zurub