Impressions from the 2019 #PESummit

The keynote speakers at this year’s Empathy + Innovation – Patient Experience Summit (#PESummit) once again lived up to the high standards set by previous Summit presenters. They made us laugh, cry, and most importantly, re-examine our perspectives on healthcare.

Patient advocate, Swapna Kakani @SwapnaSpeaks, who survived 65 surgeries, shared her incredible story of perseverance and how being included in her patient journey helped her.


Kakani was followed by another powerful speaker, Carrie Davis, Director of Patient Experience at the Hanger Clinic @HangerNews. She used humor to bring attention to the biases and stigma faced by people with prosthetics. Her simple message of “turn into the discomfort” struck a cord when she reminded the audience that the person with the prosthetic has likely experienced extreme shame in their past and by turning away you remind them of it.

The most impressive keynote was Dr Victor Montori from Mayo Clinic @vmontori who challenged the audience to stop perpetuating the healthcare industrial complex. He asked us to stop treating patients and clinicians as “resources”. He reminded us that “care” should not be “delivered” by a “provider” (like a packaged product).

He also encouraged us to rethink the burden we place on patients to be involved in their care…when they are not at their best to begin with. He used a slide that illustrated how high the expectations on patients have gotten in recent years.

For additional perspective on PESummit, I asked two of my fellow panelists for their impressions.

Grace Cordovano, a board-certified patient advocate and founder of Enlightening Results shared the following:

“There is a significant disconnect between the innovation presented at conferences and the realities patients and their carepartners face boots-on-the-ground. I’m hopeful that the collaboration between HIMSS and Cleveland Clinic’s patient experience Empathy and Innovation Summit will drive changes that result in innovation rooted in empathy. Patients need to be seen as people with a diagnosis or diagnoses, not consumers.  They need life-focused solutions that will bring authentic value and help them live their best life, whatever their personal circumstances may be, no matter where they live. That is health 3.0. That is real world personalized medicine.”

Lisa Danielpour, Vice President of the Patient and Family Partnership Council at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital had this to say:

“As a patient and family advocate, I was touched by the deep commitment to creating a better healthcare future infused with empathy felt throughout the Patient Experience Summit. Inspiring leaders like Dr. Adrienne Boissy, Dr. Tom Mihaljevic and Dr. Victor Montori challenged our thinking to co-design creative solutions and approaches with everyone in the care circle, including medical professionals, patients and families. I loved their emphasis that words matter, to think about how your environment and approaches are perceived by those you touch and hearing moving stories from patient advocates like Swapna Kakani and Carrie Davis emphasizing how important it is to see the whole person and their life goals.”

About the author

Colin Hung

Colin Hung

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He is currently an independent marketing consultant working with leading healthIT companies. Colin is a member of #TheWalkingGallery. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

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