Leslee Thompson on the transformative power of patient engagement

Leslee Thompson on the transformative power of patient engagement

Note: This is Part 5 of a five-part series highlighting speakers from MaRS HealthKick 2015, an annual pitch competition for health startups at MaRS. Read the firstsecondthird  and fourth instalments. Visit the event website to learn more about the program, speakers, jury and startup companies. MaRS HealthKick 2015 is an invite-only event.

As Leslee Thompson, CEO of Kingston General Hospital in Ontario learned, “When you put a stake in the ground and say, ‘Before you make any material decision impacting patients, then patients must be at the table’—it changes everything!”

That transformation helped Leslee realize, that while many healthcare workers espouse patient-centricity, their decision-making processes are superficial and routinely made with flawed assumptions about what patients and their families think, want or need. Leslee found that truly involving patients led to organizational insights and learnings that benefited not only the patients, but healthcare workers and their organizations. In addition, decision-making became empowering and invigorating, which led to greatly improved staff morale and other metrics of success at Kingston General.

As Leslee explained at a recent conference, six years ago, when she became the Kingston General President & CEO, she found a hospital that would have been, “Diagnosed with multi-system failure,” had it been a patient. Her biggest challenge was to, “Ignite the heart and soul of the organization… to achieve results that at the time we to a person at the time thought were impossible—but necessary.” Six years later, she is proud of how the mindsets of everyone involved have been changed so that they work in very indifferent ways based on a dedication and purpose to transforming the patient and family experience.

Kingston General has adopted a patient-centered leadership model that challenges you to always see the people beyond the numbers—put a face or ‘peopelize’ them. The model also asks:

  1. Have you included a patient and family in the decision making process?
  2. What did you learn from a patient today?

Leslee believes patient-centred care is not a passing fad, but rather that patients and their families have voices that are increasing in volume, intensity and impact and that they will continue to grow. She believes that we have reached a, “Copernicus-moment,” in healthcare as we finally realize that patients and their families are at the centre of healthcare, not revolving around it.

At HealthKick 2015 this week, Leslee will give her perspective on this global trend, and will facilitate the TED-style keynote presentations and a follow-on panel discussion that is sure to invigorating and itself potentially transformative.

Here is what Leslee had to say just over two years ago:

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