Mount Sinai Health System

Sandra Myerson, Mount Sinai Health System

Sandra Myerson

The Patient Experience

Editors’ Note

Sandra Myerson assumed her current post in November 2014. Before this, she held positions as Director, Clinical & Operational Improvement Consulting Services with Press Ganey Associates; President and Chief Executive Officer, SLM Consulting; Vice President, Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer, Aria Health; Executive Director, Ambulatory and Emergency Services, WellStar Health System; Executive Director, Emergency Services, WellStar Health System; and AVP, Healthcare Services, Albert Einstein Healthcare Network. She received her M.B.A. and M.S. from Temple University-Fox School of Business and Management and her B.S. in Nursing from Penn State University.

How do you define your role at Mount Sinai and what are your key areas of focus?

My role is to provide guidance to the system on how to improve the patient experience, providing strategies and tactics.

System leaders set the goals for patient experience prior to my arrival. My role is to help figure out how we accomplish these goals.

We are improving the patient experience at each of the hospitals and across the ambulatory care practices, and while efforts are customized for each location, there are a few key tenets that apply to all. There are some basics for the hospitals, such as purposeful hourly rounding by nursing staff and daily nurse manager rounding.

Employee engagement, reward, and recognition are also important. This means that senior leaders must be visible around their facility so they get to know their staffs, and ensure they feel appreciated and valued.

We’re also working on physician communication skills to help doctors connect with patients. Our doctors are fantastic clinicians; we want them to be fantastic communicators as well.

In addition, we’re also creating physician comparative scorecards to learn how physicians compare to each other across the system, both within their own practice and across practices.

It is challenging to standardize as the system has grown?

The approach is different at each of the facilities based on the culture, the leadership, and their resources. However, the messaging – how we say things and what we expect – is the same.

Do you worry that technology is taking away from the personal touch and the human relationship?

When we implement new technology, the clinician’s time and attention is often spent learning how to navigate it, and it takes away from the time he or she spends with the patient.

A great deal of effort goes into figuring out how to incorporate technology that helps patients feel engaged in the process.

How significant is a positive patient experience to the overall health of the patient?

Clinical outcomes, operational processes, and patient experience are interrelated.

When we make personal connections with patients and patients are confident in our ability to care safely for them, they will tell us things that are important for us to know from a clinical perspective in order to deliver great care.

When patients feel we care, they will listen to our instructions and adhere to those care guidelines.

How critical is it to drive a service mentality throughout the organization?

It’s not enough now to just deliver great clinical care. People have to feel cared about and, if that is the expectation, then we have to figure out how to deliver on that.•