“Patient centeredness to me is the true north, and I think everything else that we’ve done that isn’t patient-centered has been a distraction. It’s why we signed up to get into healthcare. It’s what we should be doing today and tonight, and it should guide our future tomorrow.”
–David Feinberg, MD, MBA, president of UCLA Health System in Los Angeles
Patient satisfaction is a buzzword in HM circles, as compensation is increasingly tied to performance in keeping inpatients happy. David Feinberg, MD, MBA, president of UCLA Health System in Los Angeles, could be called a guru of patient satisfaction.
Just don’t tell him that.
“I hope I’m not seen as ‘patient satisfaction,’” he says. “I hope I’m seen as ‘patient centeredness.’ And patient satisfaction is a key piece of patient centeredness.”
Dr. Feinberg, who assumed his current role UCLA Health System in 2011, is a national voice for pushing a patient-centric model of care delivery. To wit, he will be one of the keynote speakers at HM13 next month at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Md. His address is fittingly titled “Healing Humankind One Patient at a Time.”
The Hospitalist spoke to Dr. Feinberg about his message to hospitalists.
Question: What do you think is the evolution of patient centeredness, as that becomes more of a focus for others?
Answer: Patient centeredness to me is the true north, and I think everything else that we’ve done that isn’t patient-centered has been a distraction. … It’s why we signed up to get into healthcare. It’s what we should be doing today and tonight, and it should guide our future tomorrow. It would be like me saying to the restaurateur, “How important is the food?”
Q: Is it something that hasn’t always been done?
A: It’s pathetic. You’re totally right. We’ve lost our way.
Q: If it’s so common-sense, how did we lose our way?
A: It really became, to me, the coin of the realm in medicine was how much the doctor made, how great their reputation was. It even got to the point of: You were a good doctor if your waiting room was packed. … I keep saying the waiting room should be for the doctors. The patient shouldn’t have to wait. You should be back in the exam room and the doctor should be waiting to see you. So we’ve got to completely change the paradigm. … It’s really the patient who’s at the top of the pyramid. And I just think we’ve lost that completely.
Q: How does a hospitalist engage quickly to ensure that they’re trying to accomplish patient centeredness and manage outcomes properly?
A: Hospitalists have a unique opportunity there, because everybody remembers when they got put in the hospital. It is a big deal when you’re hospitalized. Your family is in a vulnerable state, everybody is in a heightened sense of alertness and focus. Think about how important those four days are around education, around myths and demystifying, around beliefs and disbelief.
Q: So what is the one thing you want hospitalists to take away from your address?
A: That they should join with all of us who want to heal humankind; that they are healers, above all.