patient experience

The Power of ‘&’ in Patient Experience & Engagement

Editor’s Note: Next week, April 24–28, The Beryl Institute (one of Engaging Patients’ partner organizations) will celebrate Patient Experience Week. Each year, PX Week provides a focused time for organizations to celebrate and reenergize their commitment to improving the patient experience and honoring all healthcare workers for their efforts on behalf of patients. In this week’s post, Stacy Palmer, senior vice president of The Beryl Institute, reports on Beryl’s annual conference, held recently in Denver.

Last month over 1,000 healthcare leaders, patients and family members gathered for The Beryl Institute’s Patient Experience Conference 2017. The seventh year for the annual event, it continues to grow both in size and scope, a reflection of the evolving nature of the patient experience movement and the value for all healthcare stakeholders to come together to engage in learning, networking and expanding the patient experience conversation.

“I Am the Patient Experience”

Each year the conference opens with an inspirational video intended to help frame the conference experience for participants. Arguably the most popular was 2012’s ‘I am the Patient Experience video highlighting how every member of a healthcare organization impacts the overall patient experience. From nurses and doctors to admissions and volunteer services, to maintenance and housekeeping, to radiology and pharmacy, the list goes on. That video has been replicated by healthcare organizations around the world to highlight their own staff members and reinforce their commitments to patient experience excellence.

Purpose and Action Based on a Definition

I believe the video has resonated so well with organizations because it helps explain what patient experience is. A clear definition is critical to the experience conversation. Without a shared definition that is understood and integrated into the roles of all the people in your organization, you have no basis for action and no link to purpose that helps people understand the impact of the role they play.

At The Beryl Institute, we define patient experience as the sum of all interactions, shaped by an organization’s culture, that influence patient perceptions across the continuum of care. We welcome organizations to adopt or adapt this definition; most importantly, we encourage them to have a formal definition in place to help frame and guide their efforts.

“The Power of &”

This year’s conference opening video reinforced the definition as well, while taking it a step further to highlight the “Power of &,” a concept that can be applied to many things in life. Regarding patient experience, the Power of & is illustrated in the way we interact with one another. As highlighted in the video, through the stories of four patients who have each been inspired by their situations to help drive improvements in healthcare, it’s the opportunity to change people’s lives by focusing on the human experience.

The video shares three sets of “&” concepts that reflect the core of patient experience, and I believe also of patient engagement. I challenge healthcare organizations to consider each of these as foundational to their experience and engagement efforts as they ensure the human experience is at the center of all they do. I’d like to share some quotes from the patients and care providers in the video that reinforce the Power of &.

Partnerships & Connections

“I need to know you have my best interest at heart.” – Erica Steed

“I believe the more information you have, the more powerful you are…” – Develle Dedrick, RN

“I was blessed to be assigned a doctor who embodies the definition of patient centered care. He was someone I could be personally connected with…” – Shari Berman

Empathy & Compassion

“I think the first way you build a relationship with a patient is to build a strong foundation from the very first moment you meet them…you have to be a good communicator, you have to be compassionate.” – Carlton Zdanski, MD

“For me it was really important that the doctors understood that this wasn’t just about naming my disease and identifying a treatment, it was also about the whole me and all the implications.” – David Andrews

“I had to rely on other people to provide that clinical expertise but also meeting our emotional needs in different ways.” – D’Anna Holmes

Individual & Inspiring

“We are all individual human beings and that’s an individual experience, physician to patient, and it’s different every time.” – Lawrence Shulman, MD

“He treated me like a human, like a normal person, I wasn’t just another patient he was seeing, I was Victoria, and I loved that about him…for me it was life changing.” – Victoria Baskett

These concepts represent the importance of relationships, inclusivity and collaboration. And they reinforce the idea that experience is all encompassing.


Stacy Palmer, Senior Vice President of The Beryl Institute Stacy Palmer is senior vice president of The Beryl Institute, the global community of practice dedicated to improving the patient experience through collaboration and shared knowledge. With a commitment to gather, understand and integrate insights and ideas from The Beryl Institute community, Stacy has helped establish a resource library of proven practices and research sharing how healthcare organizations around the globe are creating positive experiences for patients, family members and caregivers.

Stacy Palmer, senior vice president of The Beryl Institute has 2 post(s) at

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