Hands-on leader strengthened patient satisfaction at UCLA, Geisinger

The CEO of Geisinger Health System has already made headlines for the Pennsylvania system’s transformative patient satisfaction initiatives, but the fruits of his labors at UCLA linger as well.

Before David Feinberg, M.D., came to UCLA Medical System, despite its sterling reputation overall, it was ranked low for patient satisfaction, according to Forbes. However, after Feinberg took the reins, patient satisfaction scores reached the 99th percentile. The innovations Feinberg has made illustrate several distinct transformation strategies for healthcare, according to Forbes:

  • Seeking inspiration outside of the healthcare sector: Much like companies such as Disney have lessons to teach healthcare leaders, Feinberg drew inspiration from Starbucks as an example of a brand consumers identify with quality service, which carried over into a pilot program under which Feinberg offered a money-back guarantee. “The way I see it, if you go into Starbucks and you’re not happy with your order, they don’t sip your latte and argue that they made it correctly. They just take care of you on the spot,” Feinberg told Forbes.
  • Be part of the workspace: At both UCLA and Geisinger, Feinberg emphasized the importance of being a physical presence, walking the floor two to three hours per day to talk to patients and provide them with his contact information.
  • Make communication a continuous part of employee training: Feinberg developed a communication system at UCLA called “C.I. CARE” for every interaction with patients and visitors. The acronym stands for:
    • Connect
    • Introduce
    • Communicate
    • Ask permission/anticipate
    • Respond
    • End with Excellence
  • Emphasize storytelling: A leader’s job isn’t to set an example with data and figures, Feinberg said, but rather to use storytelling to illustrate their point. Feinberg begins each board meeting by inviting patients to speak or reading from letters from patients, he told the publication. Other providers, such as Massachusetts General Hospital, have adopted similar strategies.