"This is probably the best national conference I have attended. The major strength is the presentations are very relevant to obstacles we are all facing in our institutions today."

"The conference is a great opportunity to hear about 'best practices' across the country. The real life experiences of other clients provides me with great insight into the strengths and challenges at other organizations that mirror those in our organization."

-2016 Attendees



Press Ganey offers two types of optional opportunities before the conference begins. New Consulting Workshops provide interactive education, strategies and tactics from Press Ganey consultants in a small group setting. Topics include physician communication, caregiver engagement, physical environment design and cross-department patient experience approaches. Preconference meetings on Wednesday morning facilitate networking and best-practice sharing for Academic Medical Centers and major teaching hospitals; small community and rural hospitals; and nursing leadership. Meet and connect with peers at a preconference session to make it easy to network throughout the event.


Held on Wednesday morning, these optional sessions offer speakers and topics specifically built to provide solutions for specific care settings, departments or roles. This year, we’re pleased to offer three Preconference Meetings:


Wednesday, Nov. 1, 9:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Academic Medical Center/Major Teaching Hospital Preconference Meeting

This event will give executives, managers and care providers at academic medical centers and major teaching hospitals a unique opportunity to learn a variety of best practices for achieving clinical and operational success in these specific care settings. Presenters include leaders from Case Western Reserve University, UCLA Health and Carolinas Medical Center. Lunch will be provided.

9:00 – 9:05 a.m.
Welcome Remarks
James Merlino, MD, President and Chief Medical Officer, Consulting Services Division, Press Ganey

9:05 – 9:50 a.m.
Forward Together: Educating Interprofessional Teams
Pamela B. Davis, MD, PhD, Dean of the School of Medicine and Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs, Case Western Reserve University

Team-based care offers improved patient coverage and efficiency in modern medicine, yet we still train in silos. This session’s speaker will present data from a didactic but interactive training program among 700 students studying for MD, RN, MSPA, DDS and MSW degrees. She also will present preliminary data from a pilot study of education of student teams in outpatient primary care, emergency room and inpatient intensive care, including elements of success and areas of improvement.

9:50 – 10:35 a.m.
An Innovative Way to Improve Communication between Clinical Trainees and Patients
Virgie Mosley, Operations Manager, UCLA Health
Alan Chin, MD, Residency Program Director, Dept. of Pediatrics, Pediatric Hospitalist, UCLA Health

The Assessing Residents’ CICARE (ARC) medical program at UCLA Health was developed to promote patient-centered care among trainees through feedback provided by patients and their family members. The program has been successful in promoting and reinforcing the six communication behaviors comprising the CICARE model. In this session, presenters will demonstrate how the ARC program has taught residents to practice the CICARE behaviors. In addition, attendees will learn how the program was developed, what is necessary to create and sustain a similar program and how the CICARE behaviors can have a positive impact on physician and patient experience.

10:50 – 11:35 a.m.
Improving Engagement and Patient Experience in a High-Volume, High-Acuity Academic ED
Jennifer Koebel, Assistant Vice President, Carolinas Medical Center
Christy Klein, BSN, Nurse Manager, Carolinas Medical Center

Carolinas Medical Center is an academic medical center teaching hospital and Level 1 trauma center. In this session, attendees will learn how this high-volume, high-acuity facility with a constrained design and complex patient population increased teammate engagement survey results, decreased vacancy rates and increased top-box scores for overall ED satisfaction. Speakers will discuss the tools utilized to achieve these results, including leader rounding on teammates and patients, a leader on-call structure, focus groups, peer interviewing, and simulation training and education.

Wednesday, Nov. 1, 9:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Nursing Leadership Preconference Meeting

Designed for nursing leadership, this special preconference meeting will explore best practices and leadership strategies to deliver nursing excellence and ensure compassionate, connected care for patients. Hosted by Christina Dempsey, chief nursing officer at Press Ganey, this event will feature presentations from three ​CNOs who will share their best practices and key strategies for ensuring nursing excellence and delivering compassionate, connected patient care. Lunch will be provided.

9:30 – 9:​35 a.m.
Welcome Remarks
Christina Dempsey, MSN, RN, MBA, CNOR, CENP, Chief Nursing Officer, Press Ganey

9:​35 – 10:​25 a.m.
Nurse Engagement: What Is It and How Can You Achieve It? 
Karen S. Hill, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE, FAAN, Editor-in-Chief, The Journal of Nursing Administration; Chief Operating Officer/Chief Nursing Officer; Baptist Health Lexington

In this presentation, the speaker will review evidence-based practices to support nurse engagement. An engaged nursing workforce has been strongly associated with high levels of patient engagement. Nurse leaders will be challenged to identify a definition of nurse engagement for their workforce, review strategies to develop a plan and identify outcome measures. 

10:​25 – 11:​10 a.m.
Fatigue and Engagement: The Impact of Shift Work Schedules
Susan M. Reese DNP, MBA, RN, CPHIMS; Chief Nurse Executive; Kronos Incorporated

Many nursing practice settings require coverage 24/7/365 requiring the workforce to be deployed in shifts. This presentation will describe the role shift work plays in the development of nurse fatigue and the impact on engagement. Specific shift work scheduling considerations and practices will be explored to diminish the probability of work schedule induced fatigue.

11:10 – 11:30 a.m.
Networking Break. Lunch will be served. 

11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.  
The Role of Nursing Leadership in Transforming Organizational Culture 
Laura J. Wood, DNP, MS, RN, NEA-BC; Senior Vice President, Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer; Sporing Carpenter Chair for Nursing; Boston Children’s Hospital

Using a case study approach, this session will describe key strategies and tactics implemented over a multi-year period within an academic pediatric health system to impact organizational culture and the environment of care.  A series of evidence-based changes introduced within nursing from the point-of-care, board room and throughout the organization that contributed to measurable safety, quality and nursing engagement outcomes will be described.



Wednesday, Nov. 1, 10:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Rural and Small Community Hospital Preconference Meeting

Rural, small community and critical access hospitals face unique challenges when it comes to delivering comprehensive, coordinated health care. At this event, speakers from two care facilities will present case studies highlighting their patient experience and cultural improvement best practices. Specifically, attendees will learn strategies for providing exceptional emergency care and maximizing the effectiveness of workforce huddles to improve patient safety and overall patient experience. Lunch will be provided.

10:00 – 10:10 a.m.
Welcome and Introduction
Rene Zipper, Director, Mid-Market Hospital Division, Press Ganey

10:10 – 10:55 a.m.
Maximizing the Impact of Huddles at a Small Rural Hospital
Glenn Sommerfeld, MBA, CPHQ, Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, Manager, Performance Improvement, Yampa Valley Medical Center (Steamboat Springs, Colo.)

Regularly scheduled huddles are one way to drive operational and patient safety improvements. In this session, attendees who are considering implementing systemwide huddles will learn how to ensure maximum attendance, timely starts and topic relevance. They will also explain how to measure the long-term impact of huddles on patient safety while ensuring that important, short-term huddle topics do not fall by the wayside. Ways to maximize the effectiveness of unit huddles also will be discussed.

11:00 – 11:45 a.m.
Moving HCAHPS in a Rural Setting: How One Critical Access Hospital Transformed Patient Scores by Foc
Lisa Loughran, MS, RN, RD, CEN, Chief Nursing Officer, Gunnison Valley Health(Ashland, Wis.)
Sherilyn Skokan, RN, BSN, Director of Patient Care Services, Gunnison Valley Health(Ashland, Wis.)

In two years, Gunnison Valley Health transformed its nursing HCAHPS scores to be in the top 5% in the nation. In this session, the audience will learn how the facility made it possible for its employees to do what they love: deliver world-class care to their patients, who are their friends, family members and neighbors. Learn the tactics Gunnison Valley Health utilized to achieve its success, and hear how small steps can result in big changes.


New to 2017! Led by senior Press Ganey consultants, these newly created Consulting Workshops provide attendees with focused, interactive courses dedicated to a specific topic or theme—including a special full-day workshop presented by The Academy of Communication in Healthcare (ACH):


Begins Tuesday, Oct. 31, 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Continues Wednesday, Nov. 1, 7:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Relationship-Centered Communication for Physicians

Patient-centered communication skills build better provider-patient relationships and are linked to improvements in safety, increased accuracy in clinical decisions and increases in patient compliance to recommended treatment. Designed for physicians and physician leaders, this foundational, interactive, eight-hour workshop will be led by The Academy of Communication in Healthcare (ACH) faculty and will explore why communication is important as well as step through optimal physician-patient encounters from beginning to end.

Through two half-day sessions, attendees will learn and practice new skills, which will be reinforced through didactic and demonstrative videos, small-group discussions and role-playing exercises. Attendees will earn up to 7.25 AMA PRA Category 1 CME credits, as well as learn key communication skills and strategies, including the following:

      - Making effective open-ended inquiries
      - Eliciting patient stories and perspectives
      - Listening and responding with empathy
      - Using the Ask, Respond, Tell (ART) communication technique to engage patients and develop a shared care plan
      - Addressing challenging communications

Accreditation Statement: This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Office of Continuing Education and the American Academy on Communication in Healthcare. The UAMS Office of Continuing Education is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.Designation Statement: The UAMS Office of Continuing Education designates this live activity for a maximum of  up to 7.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Wednesday, Nov. 1, 8:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Optimal Strategies for Advancing Caregiver Engagement

Highly engaged caregivers are essential to delivering safe, high-quality patient care and experiences. This interactive workshop is designed for leaders who are responsible for interpreting workforce engagement scores, prioritizing opportunities and driving action planning. Led by Marty Wright, Press Ganey engagement consultant, the workshop will teach attendees valuable strategies and skills for advancing caregiver engagement, including the following:

      - Key metrics that drive engagement and how to use them effectively
      - A triaging process designed to inform levels of action planning across different tiers and work units, and why the action planning readiness (APR) score is important in this endeavor
      - Approaches to developing key leadership competencies for building trust, improving communication and sustaining staff engagement

Wednesday, Nov. 1, 8:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Innovative Physical Environment Design for Improved Patient Experiences

Increasingly, health care facilities are refurbishing or rebuilding their campuses to differentiate themselves from competing facilities and provide a better, safer care experience to patients. Often, however, these new and improved physical spaces fail to deliver on their promise. A successful facility refurbishment/redesign engages staff in the process and carefully considers the role of health care facility design in improving the patient experience. To plan investments that deliver on desired goals, organizations should determine how best to leverage their physical space to provide a safe, high-quality experience for patients as well as caregivers.

This workshop, led by Press Ganey consulting partners including Charles Hagood, co-author of the Shingo Prize–winning book, Lean-Led Hospital Design, will focus on the role of facility design in advancing the patient experience. Specific topics include the following:

      - How a hospital’s physical space influences the patient experience
      - Methodologies that engage staff in the design process, from master planning through detailed design
      - Common mistakes made in the design, construction and transition phases and how to avoid them
      - Steps to ensure a smooth transition into the new physical space
      - Case studies of recent projects at leading health care organizations

Wednesday, Nov. 1, 8:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Building Patient Experience Efforts across Departments

By working as a group when setting goals and designing initiatives, innovative organizations can build bridges between entities that traditionally operated in silos. Focusing dialogue and activities across your Patient Experience, Human Resources, Safety, Operations, Performance Improvement and/or Quality departments can take your efforts to the next level of success and sustainability.

This interactive session, led by Press Ganey consulting partner Stacie Pallotta, will challenge attendees to explore how integration can help anchor, and therefore better sustain, patient experience improvement initiatives. Participants are asked to come with examples of integration efforts currently under way within their organizations, and/or an opportunity where improved integration could be beneficial. This workshop will explore the following topics:

      - The value of collaboration in sustaining a positive patient experience
      - Key alignment points between patient experience and other organizational initiatives
      - Integration best practices, including examples of practical applications
      - Ways to create, develop or evolve integration opportunities within your organization