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2023 Symposium Agenda

Monday, September 18, 2023

8:00 am - 4:00 pm Registration Open

9:00 am - 12:30 pm Choose two Hands-on, Interactive Pre-Conference Workshops

2:00 pm Chairperson’s Welcoming Remarks

Laura Cooley, PhD, Editor-in-Chief, The Journal of Patient Experience

2:15 pm – 3:00 pm Enhancing the Veteran Experience: Strategies for Improving Access and Support

John Boerstler, Chief Veterans Experience Officer, Department of Veterans Affairs

In this opening session, Chief Experience Officer John Boerstler from the US Department of Veterans Affairs will share valuable insights and strategies for enhancing the experience of veterans. He will discuss the importance of listening to veterans and incorporating their feedback into policy and service improvements. Boerstler will also explore ways to improve access to healthcare services and address mental health issues, emphasizing the significance of collaboration among government agencies, healthcare providers, and community organizations. Join us to gain actionable knowledge and perspectives that can help you make a positive impact on the lives of patients.

  • Explore strategies for improving access to healthcare services

  • Learn how to address mental health issues and provide comprehensive support

  • Gain insights into effective collaboration among government agencies, healthcare providers, and community organizations to enhance the patient experience

  • Acquire actionable knowledge and perspectives to make a positive impact on the lives of patients


3:00 pm – 3:45 pm Round Table Response Discussions

As a unique element of the symposium, delegates will engage in interactive roundtable discussions in response to the opening session. A “PX Host” will guide each roundtable group to enable meaningful exchanges. Attendees will form connections, exchange ideas, and share goals for attending the symposium.


3:45 pm – 4:30 pm The Naked Truth About Compassion is Revealed. . .A Return to the Heart of Healing 

“Patient Lee” Tomlinson,  Stanford CCARE Applied Compassion Ambassador, Cancer/Burnout Survivor, Founder of the Compassion Heals Movement

Using powerful stories from his near-fatal cancer battle, Lee succinctly defines compassion, reveals the one act that always relieves patient suffering, and provides three simple criteria to determine whether or not a patient/provider interaction was compassionate. Lee also reveals the #1 barrier preventing professionals from providing truly compassionate care, plus, how to fix it.

Lee then reveals the six actions patients find most compassionate and reconnects his audiences to the passion to relieve the suffering that got them into medicine in the first place.  And, lastly, inspires them to recommit to providing compassion to benefit their patients, themselves, and the bottom line of the organizations in which their lives intersect.

  • Understand the definition of compassion and discover the one act guaranteed to relieve a patient's suffering when it is given or gotten

  • Learn the immense mental, physical, emotional, and financial benefits compassion provides for patients, medical professionals, and the hospital in which their lives intersect

  • Discover HCP’s #1 obstacle to providing compassionate patient care and inspire these HCPs to commit, in writing, to be more measurably compassionate than they are now


4:00 pm Registration Closed - Reopens at 8:00 am on 9/19/23

4:30 pm - 6:00 pm Opening Night Reception in Sponsor Showcase with Poster Viewing
Beyond the Walls Book Signing by Author, Zeev Neuwirth, MD

- Books sponsored by 98point6 Technologies


6:30 pm Leadership Dinner (Invitation Only)

Sponsored by NRC Health

Tuesday, September 19, 2023


8:00 am – Coffee, Poster Viewing and Networking

8:30 am Chairperson’s Opening Remarks

Laura Cooley, PhD, Editor-in-Chief, The Journal of Patient Experience


8:45 am – 9:15 am Beyond Happiness: Connecting Safety, Quality, and Experience
Jim Merlino, MD, Executive VP and Chief Innovation Officer, Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations


It is a common misconception in healthcare that patient experience strategies are confined to delivering happiness to patients.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  In reality, working with patients demonstrates that they are more interested in respect, communication, and relationships.  Patients – and families, want their needs to be met.  If we achieve that, patients will walk away from their healthcare encounter feeling fulfilled – and satisfied.

  • Understand the connectivity to safety, quality, and patient experience

  • Articulate a high-level strategy for executing a comprehensive patient experience strategy

  • Be able to use data to better tell their patient experience story


9:20 am -10:00 am Transformational Leadership Strategies to Advance Patient Experience

Brian Carlson, VP of Patient Experience, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Seanna-Kaye Denham, Ph.D., Chief Experience Officer, NYC Health + Hospitals

Alpa Vyas, VP, Chief Patient Experience & Operational Performance Officer, Stanford Health Care

A panel of influential Executive Leaders from health systems across the US discuss the opportunities and challenges leaders face as they strive to transform healthcare experiences for patients, consumers, and members of the healthcare workforce. Panelists will share ideas on how to:

  • Implement health equity initiatives

  • Collaborate with other executives to integrate safety, quality, and clinical improvement efforts

  • Address digital transformations impacting experience

  • Engage and sustain a healthy workforce

10:00 am – 10:30 am Round Table Response Discussions

As the leadership panel concludes, conference delegates will engage in interactive roundtable discussions in response to prompts on transformational PX leadership. A “PX Host” will guide each roundtable group to enable meaningful exchanges. PX leaders from the panel will join the tables to maximize speaker-attendee connections.

10:30 am – 11:00 am Networking Break in Sponsor Showcase

11:00 am – 11:35 am The Imperative of Health and Structural Justice: Toward a More Equitable Human Experience

Camille Burnett, Ph.D., MPA, APHN-BC, BScN, RN, DSW, FAAN, CGNC, Vice President, Health Equity, Institute for Healthcare Improvement

Humanity of health considers people not just as human beings but as being human. The range of human experience does not begin nor end with the patient experience; it is simply an embedded part of the totality of one’s experiences. Those experiences are shaped by and intersect with context, conditions, identity, and history and therefore require an orientation of justice in health to connect the reality of humanity and health. The imperative of health and structural justice will be used to unpack health, structures, and practices toward the creation of a more humane system of care.


11:35 am – 12:05 pm A Roadmap for Improving Healthcare – The Customer Experience and Journey

Robert Otto Valdez, Ph.D., M.H.S.A, Director, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Patients and their caregivers, especially those with multiple chronic conditions as they age, increasingly interact with multiple actors and many touchpoints throughout episodes of care.   As a result, we need a better roadmap for understanding the customer journey and their social experience over time and place to provide high-quality healthcare. These changes require healthcare systems to integrate multiple business functions and partners to create and deliver care.  What do we know about customer service, customer journey, and experience management in healthcare?  What are the critical research areas to advance care delivery and health outcomes?

  • Define customer experience and customer journey

  • Understand the historical perspective on customer experience in healthcare

  • Outline critical research needed for improving the quality of healthcare across sites of care and time

12:05 pm - 12:30 pm Round Table Response Discussions

As a unique element of the symposium, delegates will engage in interactive roundtable discussions in response to their learnings throughout the day. A “PX Host” will guide each roundtable group to enable meaningful exchanges. Attendees will form connections, exchange ideas, and share key takeaways from the day at the symposium.

12:30 pm - 1:45 pm Lunch and Poster Viewing in Sponsor Showcase

1:45 pm - 2:20 pm Choose between interchangeable tracks

Track A

“Short, Modern, Smart” An Innovative Feedback and Response Program for the Modern Patient

Colleen Russell, MHSA, CPXP, Director of Engagement, Northwestern Medicine

Northwestern Medicine realized it needed to transform its survey process to directly support NM’s Patients First mission and develop a more contemporary approach to gathering feedback.  The new survey platform and survey redesign have allowed NM to enable real-time performance improvement within the system and gather the information that is important to the patient experience.   This presentation will walk you through NM’s decision to implement a Short, Modern, Smart survey and the benefits the organization has seen to date.

  • Recognize problem areas and challenges with current engagement tools and processes (e.g. format, timeliness, scalability) 

  • Share Northwestern Medicine's approach to innovating existing survey programs

  • Replicate the process of capturing the right patient feedback at the right time

  • Share technology advances NM implemented that improve the patient feedback process


Track B

Why a Ruckus is Needed to Transform Healthcare

Moderator:  Denise Wiseman, Ph.D., MBA, CPXP, Founder and President of The PX Community

Panelists: Thomas Dahlborg, President & CEO, Dahlborg HealthCARING Leadership Group, LLC (DHLG)

Danie Turpin, MA, CPXP, Director of Performance Improvement, Providence Medical Center

Roseanna Galindo, ECBA, CAVS, Principal, Periscope Business Process Analysis

The healthcare crisis is at the front of the conversation everywhere you turn.  Burnout and staffing are the issues leading the discussion.  However, concerns regarding our lack of progress towards improving safety, quality, outcomes, and experience, after decades of regulations intended to improve each, are included topics.  Many have made localized positive and well-intentioned efforts, but we have not achieved measurable and sustained improvements across healthcare.  Join panelists Thomas Dahlborg, Danie Turpin, and Roseanna Galindo with moderator Denise Wiseman as they share why the infusion of love and compassion, the introduction of improvement science methodology, the adjustment to our data use and perspectives, and other Ruckus-making ideas are needed to make sustainable transformation across healthcare. 

  • Gain awareness of what has held us back from making a difference in healthcare, though many have expended much time and energy

  • Explore the actions and participants needed to shift the paradigm and open the door to transformation

  • Identify one or two actions each participant can take to make a ruckus that makes a difference

2:25 pm – 3:10 pm Choose between interchangeable tracks

Track A

Advancing Equity and Inclusion to Improve Healthcare Experiences

Anthony Warmuth, Executive Director of Clinical Transformation, Cleveland Clinic 

Alan Dubovsky, VP and Chief Patient Experience Officer, Hospital Administration, Cedars Sinai

Aswita Tan-McGrory, Director, Equity in Care Implementation, Mass General Hospital

Seanna-Kaye Denham, Ph.D., Chief Experience Officer, NYC Health + Hospitals

Healthcare organizations have an ethical, business and strategic imperative to breakdown barriers that lead to inequalities, and to develop and reinforce systems, processes and cultures where every person has the opportunity to achieve their full health potential. This panel will address how organizations are transforming care to advance health equity through the lens of the patient and caregiver experience. Session objectives include:

  • Describe the interconnection between inclusivity, workforce, quality, and safety as critical impact areas in the advancement of healthcare experience outcomes

  • Examine best practices in leveraging data to understand health disparities impacting the patient experience and to prioritize and drive improvement efforts

  • Evaluate approaches to address barriers to health equity in partnership with patients, the workforce and community members

Track B

Elevating Experience: Surveys are Not Enough
Moderator: Gregory Makoul, Ph.D. MS, Chief Transformation Officer, NRC Health

Susan Edgman-Levitan, PA, Executive Director, John D. Stoeckle Center for Primary Care Innovation, Massachusetts General Hospital

Zeev Neuwirth, MD, Physician Executive, Author

Over the years, the approach to improving patient experience has relied on retrospective surveys.  While surveys certainly have their place, national data shows that improvement plateaued in 2017, years before the onset of the pandemic.  It is clear that elevating experience requires a fresh approach, one that sees the experience as extending beyond the care setting, recognizes the importance of experience on both sides of the stethoscope, prioritizes human connection and health equity, and puts ‘How are you doing?’ on equal footing with ‘How did we do?’.  This panel will focus on what it takes to turn aspiration into action.

  • Summarize the traditional approach to assessing and improving patient experience

  • Articulate essential elements of a fresh approach geared toward elevating the experience

  • Identify a realistic initiative that will help move their organization from aspiration to action

3:15 pm – 3:50 pm Choose between Interchangeable Tracks

Track A

High-Performing Patient & Family Advisory Councils: Winning Strategies and Best Practices 

Barbara Lewis, MBA, Founder, Joan’s Family Bill of Rights

Patient & Family Advisory Councils (PFACs) have been around for over 40 years, yet only about half of hospitals have a PFAC. Some health systems have embedded PFACs in many hospital areas. One regional health system has over 20 PFACs while others have 9 or 10.  Why do some hospitals have numerous PFACs, and others have opted not to field one? This session explores best practices in launching a PFAC and in sustaining a successful and impactful PFAC. Hear about the research on the most prevalent characteristics of hospitals that have PFACs, learn about the comprehensive process that one health system uses to ensure PFAC members are engaged and departments are queuing to present their inquiries, understand the importance of metrics and the guidelines on measurement that validate the PFAC, recognize a PFAC that needs a transfusion to boost efficacy, and more. If your organization is committed to patient-centeredness, then PFACs should be at the forefront of co-designing patient care.

  • Explain the stages of PFACs and where your PFAC is in the ecosystem

  • Implement a program to measure every PFAC project

  • Develop a comprehensive process that ensures success for every PFAC project


Track B 

Design Thinking Rx: A Prescription for Innovative Healthcare Solutions

Alpa Vyas, VP, Chief Patient Experience & Operational Performance Officer, Stanford Health Care

Feedback and insights are critical to any experience strategy.   The how, when, why, and who is highly variable across organizations, which stalls the best intended experience improvement efforts. The intersection of design thinking, research, technology and operations together creates new capabilities to disrupt listening and insights at scale. The result of this approach is transformation and value creation for patients and teams.

  • Discuss the fundamental components of a modern patient experience measurement approach

  • Share examples of where design thinking created unexpected insights and interventions

  • Discover what we learned as a result of capturing patient voices at the "in between" moments and the impact to date

  • Explore the future of experience powered by robust data analytics and technology


Track C

I’m a CXO Posing as a CEO (But Please Don’t Tell Anyone)
Shawn Nason, CEO, Offor Health

As the experience landscape continues to shift from customer service departments into a focus on chief experience officers and human experience officers, it’s time to start paying attention to the next big step: CXOs moving into CEO roles, bringing their human-obsessed, people-centric mindsets and experiences with them. What happens when the leader of the company puts people first? It’s nothing less than a people-first revolution where revenues soar, employee engagement skyrockets and customers recommend you to their friends so often that it’s silly to even ask them about it.

  • Understand the shift to focus on human experience officers on the profitability of an organization

  • Identify the benefits of having a CXO or human experience officer in a CEO role to create a culture focused on people

  • Discuss the challenges and opportunities associated with having a CXO or human experience officer in a CEO role


3:50 pm – 4:10 pm Networking Break in Sponsor Showcase

4:10 pm – 4:50 pm The Other End of the Stethoscope
Marcus Engel, M.S., CSP, CPXP, Author & Patient Advocate, Co-Founder of the I’m Here Movement


This remarkable story illustrates how healthcare providers sustained body and mind in the face of incredible trauma. Marcus’ touching tale of trauma, hospitalization and healing will provide insight from ‘the other end of the stethoscope.’ The value of excellent skills and the remarkable impact of healthcare professionals is honored and recognized. Heartwarming and hilarious, this presentation will remind healthcare professionals why they do what they do and inspire dedication to excellence in patient care.

  • Convey the foundation of compassionate care: human presence

  • Demonstrate an understanding of individual patient and family needs in a clinical setting

  • Implement best practices in patient communication


4:50 pm –  PFAC-tor Awards Announcement - Sponsored by Post ICU


4:55 pm- 5:30 pm Engaging Patients and Families in Quality and Safety: A Deep, Transparent Partnership
Armando Nahum, Cofounder and Principal, H2pi; Founding Member, Patients for Patient Safety


This session will begin by introducing Amando’s family and the shocking realization that three family members had become infected by their medical care in three different hospitals in three different states in just ten months. This session will also describe the severity of the situation and the emotional toll it took on their family, all emphasizing the need for change.

Armando will then emphasize what happens when patients get engaged in their care, the benefits for patients and families to partner with their healthcare, share what healthcare leaders across the country are saying and inspire the audience with a success story on sepsis.

  • Communicate loss in a way that successfully creates an impetus for change

  • Motivate caregivers to actually modify behaviors in the delivery of care

  • Recognize and explore opportunities for engaging patients in improvement work that participants can be in action on now

  • Understand the national trends around patient and family councils that are focused on a partnership to improve safety and quality

  • Describe the value patient and family partnership councils provide to hospitals and other provider organizations

5:30 pm  End of Day Two

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

8:00 am – Coffee and Poster Viewing in Sponsor Showcase

8:30 am Chairperson's Opening Remarks

Laura Cooley, PhD, Editor-in-Chief, The Journal of Patient Experience

8:45 am - 9:45 am The Science and Practice of Simple Well-Being Strategies
J. Bryan Sexton, Ph.D., Associate Professor; Director, Duke Center for the Advancement of Well-being Science, Duke University Health System

This session demonstrates the evidence behind optimism as a muscle that can be strengthened and provides a surprisingly simple intervention for cultivating hope.

  • Demonstrate the role of positive emotions in well-being

  • Examine relationships between optimism and longevity

  • Define burnout in practical terms


9:50 - 10:25 am Revitalizing Patient Experience in the Post-Pandemic Environment
Richard Evans, MA
, Senior Vice President Patient Services and Chief Experience Officer, New York Presbyterian

Across the nation, patient experience ratings declined dramatically through the later phases of the pandemic, reversing a decade-long rise in metrics previously.  The decline in scores reflects many of the challenges faced by hospitals in the pandemic including restrictions on visitation, staffing shortages, and supply chain challenges.  How can an organization meaningfully restore its patient experience and patient ratings in the current challenging environment?  This session will share a strategic approach deployed at New York-Presbyterian Hospital that has achieved measurable improvement in patient experience over the last two years.

  • Identify the operational challenges to patient experience and ways to address those challenges with evidence-based best practices

  • Analyze patient experience data for their organization and identify a pace and cadence of interventions that can be implemented over time

  • Learn about innovations being deployed at NYP that may help both recover and accelerate patient experience metrics improvement

10:25 am – 10:50 am Networking Break and Poster Viewing in Sponsor Showcase

10:50 am – 11:25 am

The Impact of Digital Transformation on Patient Experience in Hospitals in the US
Anne Snowdon, Ph.D., FAAN, RN, Chief Scientific Research Officer, HIMSS

Global health systems are progressing toward digital transformation to strengthen performance and sustainability. This presentation will examine the empirical evidence of patient experience outcomes relative to advances in digital maturity in US hospitals.

  • Describe trends and shifts in expectations of citizens in the post-pandemic era relevant to health and care

  • Examine the relationship between digital transformation and patient experience in US hospitals

  • Discuss the implications of advances in digital transformation and the role of patients in managing their health and care

11:25 am - 12:00 pm Beyond The Walls - A New Era in Patient Experience
Zeev Neuwirth, MD, Chief Clinical Executive for Care Transformation & Strategic Services, Atrium Health

We have been attempting to advance and transform the patient experience, as well as patient outcomes, for decades. And yet, we find ourselves in a system that is still frustratingly complicated, opaque, inequitable, unaffordable, and inaccessible, especially around primary and preventive care. The transformation of patient experience will require us to go beyond the walls of our current conceptual constraints. It will require us to go beyond the walls in three ways and to approach this as a synergistic and collaborative strategic effort.

First, we will need to create a new decentralized ecosystem that includes virtual and automated care delivery. Second, we will need to incorporate customization, contextualization, whole person, and equitable care as core foundational movements within our healthcare system.  Third, we will need to transcend the fiefdom mentality and leverage the power of platforms, partnerships, and payment reform. Far from being a hypothetical construct, Dr. Neuwirth presents real-life examples of the successful individuals, initiatives & organizations who are climbing these walls and getting beyond them.

  • Discover a 3-part conceptual framework that will be required to transcend the current constraints of our healthcare system

  • Hear examples of how this approach or movement is already underway

  • Adopt and adapt this framework to their specific work in improving patient experience

12:00 pm – 12:30 pm Round Table Response Discussions

In response to the closing sessions, delegates will engage in interactive roundtable discussions in response to their learnings throughout the day. A “PX Host” will guide each roundtable group to enable meaningful exchanges. Attendees will contribute ideas and express actionable goals as they leave the symposium.


12:30 pm Closing Remarks

Laura Cooley, PhD, Editor-in-Chief, The Journal of Patient Experience

 Printable Agenda Download: 
Last Updated 9-15-23 

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