Institute in the News

  • What Makes Doctors Value Patient Feedback (Harvard Business Review, By Deirdre Mylod and Thomas H. Lee) “Collecting and using patients’ evaluations of their providers has been a work in progress for the last thirty years — but the “progress” aspect is suddenly moving into high gear. The original goal of surveying patients was quality assurance — making sure nothing terrible was amiss. Today, the goal is actual quality improvement, and, as a result, the use of patient-generated data has become much more charged, especially when it comes to providing feedback to individual physicians. This could create a gulf between physicians and management. But, done right, it can actually align them.”
  • Turning Value-Based Health Care into a Real Business Model
    (Harvard Business Review, By Laura S. Kaiser and Thomas H. Lee)
    “The shift from volume-based to value-based health care is inevitable. Although that trend is happening slowly in some communities, payers are increasingly basing reimbursements on the quality of care provided, not just the number and type of procedures. But because most providers’ business models still depend on fee-for-service revenues, reducing volume (and increasing value) cuts into short-term profits. How, then, are innovative providers redesigning care so that, despite financial pain in the short term, they achieve long-range success?"  
  • Why Strategy Matters Now
    (New England Journal of Medicine, By Thomas H. Lee, Michael E. Porter)
    "The time has come for health care organizations to rethink the meaning of strategy. Strategy is about making the choices necessary to distinguish an organization in meeting customers' needs. Those choices revolve around six key questions.”
  • Doctors Strive to Do Less Harm by Inattentive Care
    (New York Times, By Gina Kolata)
    "Suffering. The very word made doctors uncomfortable. Medical journals avoided it, instructing authors to say that patients “ ‘have’ a disease or complications or side effects rather than ‘suffer’ or ‘suffer from’ them,” said Dr. Thomas H. Lee, the chief medical officer of Press Ganey, a company that surveys hospital patients. But now, reducing patient suffering — the kind caused not by disease but by medical care itself — has become a medical goal."
  • Nursing’s Role in Reducing Patient Suffering
    (ADVANCE for Nurses, By Christina Dempsey)
    “As healthcare has evolved in this era of reform, so too has the need to redefine the patient experience in terms that acknowledge the anxiety, fear and distress that accompany it. In our mission to deliver more patient-centered care, clinicians must seek to reduce patient suffering in order to improve the experience, increase engagement and impact outcomes
  • How to Spread Empathy in Health Care
    (Harvard Business Review, By Thomas H. Lee)
    “Social network scientists have shown that emotions and values can spread in a community with the same patterns as infectious diseases. These observations suggest an interesting opportunity for making health care better, and even more efficient – if health care organizations can figure out how to create an ‘epidemic of empathy.’ ”
  • Engaging Doctors in the Health Care Revolution
    (Harvard Business Review, by Thomas H. Lee and Toby Cosgrove)
    “Despite wondrous advances in medicine and technology, health care regularly falls at the fundamental job of any business: to reliably deliver what its customers need. In the face of ever-increasing complexity, the hard work and best intentions of individual physicians can no longer guarantee efficient, high-quality care.”
  • Online Reviews Could Help Fix Medicine
    (Harvard Business Review, by Thomas H.Lee)
    “A basic principle of health care is that everyone strongly favors transparency – for everyone but themselves. “Sunshine is the strongest disinfectant” is the oft-used expression that supports putting information out in the open for all to see. That said, every stakeholder in health care gets a bit nervous about exposing their own data. They are quick to cite the potential downsides – that patients will not be able to understand the limitations of the information, that risk adjustment will be inadequate to explain why their performance looks below average, that they may actually be below average.”
  • Reduction of Patient Suffering as a Strategic Goal
    (Medical Practice Insider, by Thomas H. Lee, M.D.)
    “It’s a time of turmoil for healthcare in general, and for small practices in particular. No one knows for sure whether new insurance products might steer patients away, or how these practices will be paid. As such, you can allow your organization to be buffeted by the turbulence — or chart a course to organize work and structure accordingly.”
  • Improving Value Is Improving Health Care, Not Rationing
    (JAMA Internal Medicine, by Thomas H. Lee, M.D.)
    “Hegel’s Triad—thesis, antithesis, synthesis—suggests that when good people disagree, the issue is not which is right, but how to integrate the 2 perspectives. In this issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, Goitein raises concerns about the potential dangers of providing physicians with financial incentives to become more efficient. Although I respect her concerns, I also respect concerns articulated by Berwick and Hackbarth and others that we are at a point of crisis that demands a dramatic response from physicians and other clinicians. Simply put, health care is consuming too much of society’s resources and failing all too often to meet patients’ needs.” 
  • Don’t do everything – a strategy to reduce costs, improve results
    (Modern Healthcare, by Michael E. Porter and Dr. Thomas. H. Lee)
    “World-Class Care Right in Your Neighborhood” sounds good as a marketing campaign, but as a strategy for healthcare systems, it is too often a formula for high-cost, mediocre care. To deliver value, there is a virtue to volume—concentrating patients with similar needs at sites where integrated teams can deliver better outcomes with increasing efficiency.”
  • Physician Engagement: Getting your docs on board!
    (H&HN, by Lee Ann Jarousse)
    “As health care organizations wrestle with delivery system transformation, there's one certainty: Strong physician relations are imperative for success. Engagement is a key factor in physician satisfaction and retention. An engaged physician workforce is also linked to enhanced patient care, greater efficiency and lower costs, and improved quality and patient safety. But achieving true physician engagement remains elusive for many health care organizations. "It's a time of unprecedented turmoil and virtually every hospital and health system is struggling with physician engagement right now," says Thomas Lee, M.D., chief medical officer for Press Ganey Associates Inc.”
  • Process Improvement Needed to Reduce Patient Suffering
    (AMN Healthcare, by Megan Murdock Krischke)
    “The vast majority of patients who enter a hospital are experiencing physical pain and/or disability. While hospitals and their staff excel at addressing physical ailments a patient might experience, a patient’s experience of suffering often expands significantly beyond physical discomforts or impairments. “We have had tremendous progress in medicine, and there is so much more that can be done to slow or even cure diseases than in the past,” commented Thomas Lee, MD. “A side effect of all this progress, however, has been that there are more and more clinicians involved in care, and they are often focused on one organ, or one issue.”
  • Compassionate, Connected Care
    (Advance Healthcare Network, by Christina Dempsey)
    “Nursing is at a crossroads. A combination of an aging workforce, sicker and more informed patients, increased volume and an economy downturn have created tremendous pressure on the nursing workforce…Christina Dempsey is chief nursing officer at Press Ganey.”
  • A Framework for Reducing Suffering in Health Care 
    (Harvard Business Review, The New England Journal of Medicine Insight Center, By Deirdre E. Mylod and Thomas H. Lee)
    "Patients suffer — predictably and so obviously that they bring clichés to life. They wince with pain. They shudder with fear. They lose sleep because of anxiety and confusion.  And, as they suffer, they turn to medicine for help. But medicine, increasingly, has not provided them with relief.” 
  • The Word That Shall Not Be Spoken
    (The New England Journal of Medicine, By Thomas H. Lee)
    “Physicians and health care organizations know that pain, anxiety, uncertainty and confusion are common among patients, and we work hard to reduce these problems. So why do we avoid the word “suffering,” which captures so completely what patients endure?" 
  • Book Review: 'Eugene Braunwald and the Rise of Modern Medicine' by Thomas H. Lee
    (Wall Street Journal, By Abraham Verghese)
    "In writing about Dr. Braunwald, Thomas H. Lee, a professor of medicine at Harvard, attempts to capture both the life of this remarkable man, now 84, and the explosive scientific progress that fundamentally altered medicine in the second half of the 20th century. Thanks to pioneering work of researcher-clinicians like Eugene Braunwald, heart attacks are no longer 'bolts from the blue.'"
  • Why Health Care Is Stuck — And How to Fix It
    (Harvard Business Review, By Michael E. Porter and Thomas H. Lee)
    “Why has it been so hard for health care organizations to improve outcomes and efficiency, despite their best intentions? With so many good, smart people working so hard? With patients’ needs so obvious and so compelling? And with such deep societal concerns about health care spending? The answer is complex, but the result is clear: progress in health care has been all but paralyzed by self-reinforcing barriers to change."
  • Patient Experience Will Drive A Renewal Of Professionalism
    (Health Affairs, By Thomas H. Lee)
    “The conventional wisdom among many of my closest physician colleagues is that the current surge in interest in measuring ‘patient experience’ is a bit of a fad, and that the measures are not always central to the real work of improving patient care. My take is that the opposite is true. Measurement of what matters to patients is here to stay, and I think it is making health care better and will ultimately drive a renewed sense of professionalism for clinicians.”
  • Think Like a Patient to Improve Experience
    (Becker’s Hospital Review, By Ellie Rizzo)
    “The keys to achieving success when working in patient experience are to dig deeper into what the patient is actually experiencing and to frame solutions appropriately, according to Deirdre Mylod, PhD, Press Ganey's senior vice president of decision analytics and research, and executive director of the Institute for Innovation, a nonprofit organization that Press Ganey is launching and supporting.”
  • It's About the Patients 
    (American Journal of Nursing, By Maureen Shawn Kennedy)
    “I spoke with Christy Dempsey, the chief nursing officer of Press Ganey, a consulting firm that works with U.S. hospitals to improve patients’ experiences. I told her about the negative responses on Facebook, and she said she's heard such comments before, adding, ‘The focus shouldn't be about the scores but what they reflect — the overall patient experience. If we do what we know we should be doing, the scores will take care of themselves.’”


Hear from our board, Executive Director, Institute Faculty and Founding Executive Council members at upcoming industry events.



by Anne Stern | Oct 15, 2013


Research collaborative brings together thought leaders to understand and act upon the patient voice

October 15, 2013 (South Bend, Ind.)Press Ganey announced today the launch of the new Institute for Innovation℠, an independent, nonprofit research collaborative. Comprised of leading clinicians, researchers and executives in health care, the Institute will deliver research and findings to help the industry better understand the patient experience and advance the science of improving patient care. 

The Institute brings together prominent health care leaders from across the industry. The board includes Deirdre Mylod, PhD, executive director of the Institute; Thomas H. Lee, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Press Ganey; and James Merlino, MD, Chief Experience Officer of the Cleveland Clinic health system and founder and president of the Association for Patient Experience. The Institute is also guided by the leadership of its 21-member Founding Executive Council; members listed below. These thought leaders will set research priorities, direct projects and produce findings that address costs, improve efficiency and drive quality care.

“To improve the patient experience in a meaningful way that truly reduces suffering, we have to listen to the patient voice,” said Mylod. “By digging deeper into what patients are experiencing and their perspectives of the care they receive, we can turn that data into actionable insights that hospitals and health systems can use to make informed, effective and efficient improvements.”

The Institute’s initiatives include primary research integrating real-time national data, and collaborative studies to test and enhance strategies for optimizing patient care. The Institute's research framework focuses on identifying meaningful relationships among processes, practices and outcomes, including the integration of metrics across patient experience, organizational culture, clinical quality, safety and operational and financial indicators.

“Our goal in partnering with the Institute for Innovation is to improve the patient experience through evidence based research,” said Merlino. “In collaboration with the Association for Patient Experience, we have a forum that will allow health care organizations to access valuable information about how to use the patient voice to improve the care experience.”

The Institute currently has defined four research projects, focusing on: 

Efficacy of Best Practices
Coordination of Care
Key Drivers of Variation
Shared Decision-Making 

The Institute’s Founding Executive Council members are:
Michael Bennick, MD, Yale-New Haven Hospital
Connie C. Bonebrake, Carolinas Healthcare System
Victor Buzachero, Scripps Health
Devin Carty, MBA, Vanguard Health Systems
Dennis Connors, MBA, North Shore-LIJ Health System
Cathy Duquette, PhD, RN, Lifespan
Gordon Hunt, MD, MBA, Sutter Health
Gay Landstrom, MS, RN, Trinity Health
Gregory Makoul, PhD, Saint Francis Care
Andrew Masica, MD, MSCI, Baylor Health Care System
James Merlino, MD, Cleveland Clinic
Thomas Miller, MD, University of Utah Hospitals & Clinics
Tamra Minnier, RN, MSN, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Jaclyn Mucaria, MPA, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital
J. Thomas Rosenthal, MD, UCLA Health System
Marci Sindell, MBA, Atrius Health
Brian Smith, MHA, BEE, Rush University Medical Center
Mary Anna Sullivan, MD, Lahey Clinic
Barbara Summers, PhD, RN, MD Anderson Cancer Center
Thinh Tran, MD, Baptist Health South Florida

Learn more about the Institute for Innovation.

Institute for Innovation
The Institute for Innovation is a nonprofit research collaborative that provides a forum to better understand and act upon the patient voice to advance the science of improving patient care and reducing patient suffering. Through collaboration with health care executives and industry leaders, and with an unrelenting focus on the value of the patient voice, the Institute identifies the most critical elements of patient care that would benefit from improvement and evaluates solutions that have a positive impact on experiences and outcomes. For more information, visit

Press Ganey Associates, Inc.
Recognized as a leader in performance improvement for nearly 30 years, Press Ganey partners with more than 10,000 health care organizations worldwide to create and sustain high-performing organizations, and, ultimately, improve the overall health care experience. The company offers a comprehensive portfolio of solutions to help clients operate efficiently, improve quality, increase market share and optimize reimbursement. Press Ganey works with clients from across the continuum of care – hospitals, medical practices, home care agencies and other providers – including 50 percent of all U.S. hospitals. For more information, visit