Putting Patients First Matters Most


NATIONAL HARBOR, MD—David Feinberg, MD, MBA, president of UCLA Health System in Los Angeles, set a lofty goal for hospitalists in his keynote address yesterday at HM13: get it right, all the time.

Dr. Feinberg’s health system is in the 99th percentile for patient satisfaction, which means that roughly 85 out of every 100 patients served is pretty happy with their experience. But while that’s good enough to be among the nation’s best, it’s still short of where health care needs to be, he said.

“It means that we’re the cream of the crap,” Dr. Feinberg told a packed room of hospitalists at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center here. “Of the last 100 people we took care of, 15 of them—and, by definition, those 15 people are someone’s mom, someone’s brother, someone’s coworker—would not refer us to a friend, or rate us a nine or 10. So, I think while we’ve really moved the needle, we’re really not done until we get it right with every patient, every time.”

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Dr. Feinberg, a national leader on patient-centric care who said he still spends hours each day talking to patients, urged hospitalists to put the patient first in all decisions. In an address that bounced between motivational speech and stand-up comedy, he told hospitalists to push patient-centeredness on both a systems level and in individual interactions. That will increase patient satisfaction, he said.

“The push back I hear is, ‘Some of this stuff is unpreventable,’” Dr. Feinberg added. “Well, maybe it’s unpreventable the way we’re doing it now. But, maybe we need to think differently. Maybe it is unpreventable, but if this decreases the prevalence, or makes it better, than, to me, it’s important to do.”

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