Fred Lee changed the discussion about the patient experience with his bestselling book If Disney Ran Your Hospital – 9 ½ Things You Would Do Differently. With the release of Beyond Disney: Heartwiring Healthcare Excellence – Restoring the Art of Compassion and Empathy, Fred and co-author Dr. Rosemary Laird encourage all of us to raise the bar again.
To be Heartwired is to know and use the patient’s story to provide quality care with genuine compassion and empathy. Every patient is a person who has a story, not a “case” distinguished by a diagnosis.
The book is divided into three sections.
Section 1: In their easy and relatable style, Lee and Laird set the stage by reviewing the origins of our current value-based and patient-centered world and makes a strong case that healthcare needs to be Heartwired. It covers the journey that healthcare has traveled into service excellence which then led to quality management for healthcare. Interspersed with stories, the section ends with how to close the gap between knowing and doing.
Section 2: Moves from theory to action in how we can become Heartwired. A review of emerging science provides the evidence base, including an updated perspective on the bio-psycho-social model, the “placebo effect.” Researchers have identified that the provider-patient relationship itself is part of the “placebo effect.” To further develop clinicians with empathy, the book looks to the emerging field of narrative medicine. The power of the patient’s story is indeed a necessary tenet of being Heartwired.
Section 3: The authors don’t shy away from the “elephant in the room” as they directly confront the question: Can hospitals afford to be Heartwired? From improving clinical quality, patient outcomes, and satisfaction, they explore how Heartwiring pays dividends in performance and production across a wide range of clinical settings.
At the end of the book, there is the Heartwired Toolkit to assist in developing a healthy Heartwired culture and sustaining it. The toolkit has stories, exercises, and retreat outlines for Heartwired teams to work together and grow.
Lee and Laird believe Heartwiring Healthcare Excellence will lead to patients experiencing the best of what healthcare has to offer: individuals as technically proficient as they are compassionate and empathetic.