In my first column for the ICD Healthcare Network, I share why I created the Patient Experience Symposium and what the experience of watching two loved ones fight cancer – four decades apart – has taught me about our healthcare system.
Picture this: You’re diagnosed with a severe illness. You’re scared and confused. You don’t know what to do or where to turn. You go to your doctor for help but still feel lost and alone. This is the reality for many patients today. The healthcare system can be complex and overwhelming, and it’s easy to feel like you’re just a number.
In September, ICD hosted its Seventh Annual Patient Experience Symposium in Boston. The energy was palpable, and I was reminded of my original motivation for creating this conference back in 2016: to bring together leading stakeholders from across healthcare to share ideas and strategies for improving the patient experience.
This motivation comes from a personal place. When my mother was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer at the age of 52, there were many times when we felt confused, unseen, or unheard. It was as if we weren't a priority.
For example, shortly after the diagnosis, I remember one doctor suggesting we go home and get our affairs together, as there was little else they could do. He told us she had two months to live. “Do you have any questions?”
We left his office with so many questions. But we were also determined to get a second and third opinion. We finally met an oncologist who listened to my mother and gave her the hope she needed.
My mom fought cancer hard, with various treatments that sometimes made her feel even sicker, and I took a break from school to care for her. But she outlived the first doctor’s prognosis and stayed with us for another two years. I can’t tell you what those years meant to her and to us, her family.
Forty years later — beginning in the pandemic and continuing these last three years — I have been caring for my partner with late-stage esophageal cancer. Going through radiation, chemotherapy, 20+ surgeries, and immunotherapy treatments isn’t easy for anyone. But this time, we feel the support of our doctors and nurses. They have been kind, compassionate, and understanding. They remind us each time that we’re not alone — it’s an entirely different experience than with my mother forty years ago.
Last month, we celebrated a clear PET scan. That’s why I’m so passionate about patient experience. Everyone deserves to receive high-quality care, regardless of their background or circumstances. With the annual Patient Experience Symposium, I want to bring together people from across healthcare to make a real difference in patients’ lives.
This week, our small company is celebrating our 9th year in business. At ICD, we believe that our impact on the healthcare industry is only just beginning. We are committed to improving the patient experience, and we have expanded our events and content to address other critical issues, such as burnout, equity, hospital at home, and regulatory challenges.
We are driven by a vision of a healthcare system that is patient-centered, equitable, and innovative. We believe that everyone deserves access to high-quality healthcare, and we are working tirelessly to make this vision a reality.
Our events and content are designed to inspire and empower healthcare professionals to make a difference. We bring together thought leaders from across the industry to share their insights and best practices. We also provide educational resources and networking opportunities to help healthcare professionals grow and develop.
We are proud to be a part of this community and we are committed to making a positive impact. We believe that together, we can create a better future for healthcare.
Please join us at one of our upcoming events this year:
5th Edition Healthcare Burnout Symposium, November 2-3, New York City
2nd Edition Hospital @ Home Leadership Summit, November 29-December 1, Scottsdale, AZ