A New Mindset: Partnering with Patients as Never Before. Patient Experience Summit Podcast

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer
Julie Moretz

Julie Moretz

[2014 Cleveland Clinic Patient Experience Podcasts] In our continuing series of leadership discussions, our guests today are Julie Moretz, Associate Vice Chancellor, Patient- and Family-Centered Care, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; and Kathy Vermoch, Patient Experience Leader and Project Manager, UHC (formerly University HealthSystem Consortium). This upcoming Summit presentation is titled, Successfully Partnering with Patients and Families.

In today's recorded podcast, Julie Moretz previews her Cleveland Clinic Patient Experience Summit presentation including some practical strategies for advancing patient and family centered care and practices that support authentic partnerships with patients and families.

Kathy Vermoch

Kathy Vermoch

Big ideas…

In part, Julie communicates how personal stories can make a big difference and bring change in hospital policies and practices that lead to improved clinical outcomes. “I’ve witnessed how patients and families can be part of this cultural change by simply sharing their stories.” These can be powerful, large changes or even subtle changes, she explained.

Also in our conversation, Julie and Kathy Vermoch point out how engaged patients and families are key stakeholders in the objective of improving quality and service. Patients and families have unique perspectives, knowledge, experiences and needs, and they should be recognized as equal partners and members of the care team.

Listen for the storytelling examples that both Julie and Kathy offer to illustrate these and other big ideas.

What’s surprising…

In  presentations such as the Empathy and Innovation Summit, there’s often something unusual or surprising. We asked Julie and Kathy about that in our interview.

Julie explained: “In having the opportunity to visit many hospitals throughout the United States, for me, the most surprising thing was to find that clinicians and staff think that they are practicing patient and family centered care…and they think they are already engaging their patients and families. But, when they listen to their patients’ stories they find that’s not always the case.”

Similarly, Kathy observed how people are surprised when they talk to and listen to patients and families. It’s a big surprise when you treat people honestly and with frankness, there’s a lot of data to show that you are less likely to get sued. “And they also find that a lot of people who are willing to engage as advisors are people who are grateful to the medical center and they want to help other people."

A take-home lesson you can use…

The single most important “take-home” idea, Julie told us, is that “supporting patients and families to become meaningfully engaged in care requires a culture change for most healthcare organizations. We’ve got to first equip our leaders, clinicians and our staff with the knowledge and skills to create and protect a culture of inclusion that enhances our patient safety outcomes. We must partner with our patients and families every step of the way. Not only at the bedside and in clinical care, but in program and policy design. We are all in this together.”

Kathy agrees; this requires a mindset change. “Too often in healthcare we talk about doing things ‘to’ patients, and ‘for’ patients, or designing and planning things ‘around’ patients and families. And frequently the patient experience is designed for the convenience of the hospital, the doctors and the nurses. So we need to change our mindset to recognize patients and families as equal partners, and engage them in enhancing health quality and safety, and improving the patient experience.

For more about these and other insightful concepts, listen to our conversation now.


  • Cleveland Clinic Speaker Series: Julie Moretz and Kathy Vermoch
  • 2014 Patient Experience Summit: Successfully Partnering with Patients and Families

Individuals who are attending the Summit will want to attend this presentation, Successfully Partnering with Patients and Families, on Monday, May 19th. FOR MORE in this continuing educational leadership series and previous Healthcare Success interviews are available on this page.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT the Cleveland Clinic 5th Annual Patient Experience: Empathy + Innovation Summit, click through to this page.

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Julie Ginn Moretz, Associate Vice Chancellor, Patient- and Family-Centered Care, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, is passionate about improving health care. As Associate Vice Chancellor she has overall institution leadership responsibility for the development of clinical and academic programs related to patient- and family-centered care. Previously Julie was the volunteer Chairman, Family Advisory Council at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, GA, and subsequently, Director, Family Services Development. Julie serves on the newly established Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute¹s (PCORI) Advisory Panel on Patient Engagement. Julie is a recipient of the Woman of Excellence in Health Care Award and the American Heart Association¹s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Kathleen L. Vermoch, MPH, MT(ASCP)SM, Patient Experience Leader and Project Manager, UHC (formerly University HealthSystem Consortium) located in Chicago. Ms. Vermoch is UHC’s imperative leader for enhancing patient and family engagement in the quality of care, and for improving the patient experience. As a certified medical technologist, microbiology specialist, and clinical laboratory scientist, Ms. Vermoch has extensive clinical and management experience in hospital laboratory medicine and received a MPH degree from Benedictine University. Prior to joining UHC, Ms. Vermoch held the position of Associate Director for Survey Process Development with The Joint Commission.

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