Patient Experience Summit: Empathy by Design

This year attendees encouraged to think bigger, bolder

Cleveland Clinic Chief Experience Officer, Adrienne Boissy, MD, MA, shares plans for the fast-approaching Empathy + Innovation Patient Experience Summit, May 22-24. Medical professionals from around the world will share their passion and approaches with those eager to learn more.

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Q:  Why did you choose “Empathy by Design” as this year’s theme?

A decade ago, we spent a lot of effort focused on culture and HCAHPS scores. Although these remain important, I want all of us to think bigger and bolder.

The idea is to propel us from the classic ways of thinking about patient experience, such as improving scores or “teaching to the test,” and really taking a big step forward – to reimagine the patient’s experience through empathy. Design thinking is a mechanism for exactly that.

In other words, if you really listen, explore and understand what matters most to people, you would design programs, experiences and services in a completely different way. That’s design thinking. Design thinking is empathy in its truest form. So we are highlighting design thinking as a new approach to serving both our own caregivers and patients.

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 People who attend the conference often report feeling re-connected to the true meaning of their work. They also say they don’t feel so alone. That’s so important when we’re witnessing clinician burnout rates at 54 percent nationally. This is not to be underestimated, and we will be talking about how meaning is related to burnout, and specifically what organizations are doing about it.

Q: How do people find out more?

 This summit is not just about the patient experience, it’s about the clinical and caregiver experience too. It’s the human experience.

For those interested in learning more, we invite caregivers, administrators, designers, educators, executives, patients, industry reps, students and others to visit our summit website,

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Attendees leave with innovative strategies and tactics to enhance patient and caregiver experience, reduce clinician burnout and much more.


 Cleveland Clinic was the first major academic medical center to make patient experience a strategic goal and to appoint a Chief Experience Officer, and one of the first to establish an Office of Patient Experience.