Delivering the Best Healthcare Experience Possible in the Face of COVID-19

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Listen to “Delivering the Best Healthcare Experience Possible in the Face of COVID-19”

A very special episode of the Healthcare Experience Matters podcast is available today. Our podcast host, Casey Callanan, interviews George Avila, VP, Mission Integration, and Melissa Wurm, Director, Patient Experience, with CHRISTUS Health

The trio chat about the many ways COVID-19 has impacted the delivery of excellent patient experiences.

Headquartered in Irving, Texas, CHRISTUS Health is an international, Catholic, not-for-profit health system. With more than 46,000 associates, CHRISTUS serves patients in the United States, Chile, Mexico, and Colombia with a mission “To Extend the Healing Ministry of Jesus Christ.”

“We really look at how we heal you: mind, body, and spirit, and really try to look at the whole person in a holistic and integrated way,” George said. 

George has been in Catholic healthcare for the past 22 years, and Melissa has been working in healthcare for nearly 20 years. Navigating the different waves of COVID-19 and its impact on the CHRISTUS Health community of associates, patients, and families were at the core of today’s discussion. 

Unique Needs, Unprecedented Times

“I feel now more than ever we’re called to listen, and to listen very closely, because we’re all facing realities that we’ve never seen before,” George said. 

George discussed the importance of responding to the pandemic’s challenges in the best way possible while knowing that it’s not going to be perfect. He added, “we’re all growing along in this process.”

Melissa’s professional background in mental health as a behavioral health therapist has helped her immensely with the multifaceted challenges of the pandemic. 

“I’ve worked in healthcare for nearly 20 years and before that I practiced as a behavioral health therapist,” she said. “It’s been surprising to me how much my mental health background has helped in my efforts to support our associates, and the experience of our patients and families during this awful, life changing time.”

The patient experience has always been a top priority and with novel staffing shortages, safety protocols, and other factors emerging with the pandemic, it’s seemingly never been a more vital topic of discussion. 

“As director of patient experience for CHRISTUS, I get to guide the work supporting the patient experience leaders throughout our ministry, as well as the chief nurses,” Melissa said. “It’s incredibly valuable work and very challenging during this time.”

The Patient Experience and COVID

Discussing the consequences of the pandemic is emotional subject matter. As a result, today’s interview is a very moving and emotional topic with candid talk from both George and Melissa. It is clear they are passionate about what they do, and they both cherish their roles in helping to serve others. 

“I feel at the end of the day, when we’re called to work in the area of healthcare, there’s always this deeper meaning, or this deeper calling to why we want to be a part of this healing work,” George said. 

Learn More

The Healthcare Experience Matters podcast strives to provide its listeners with useful information on delivering the best healthcare experiences possible and today’s podcast is no exception. Please feel free to listen to it via the embedded podcast player below:

For more information, please visit the official website of CHRISTUS Health.

Perhaps you are interested in listening to more episodes of Healthcare Experience Matters? You can find all episodes on the Healthcare Experience Foundation’s YouTube page, or subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts/iTunes, Spotify, or any where else you listen to your favorite podcasts today!

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Our podcast is dedicated to transforming the health care experience so that every person can receive and deliver the best care.

You can subscribe to our podcast for free on all major podcast platforms and for video of our interviews, you can always check out the Healthcare Experience Foundation (HXF) on YouTube. Catch up on all episodes of our podcast by subscribing and following us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Amazon Music and more.

Meet Katie Owens

Katie believes that the way we deliver and receive healthcare matters—not just for the patients, but for the caregivers, the providers, and administration, too.

As President of the Healthcare Experience Foundation, Katie is taking bold steps to assure that every organization has access to resources for engaging patients and developing their workforce to achieve results. Katie is an innovator, implementing new ways to deliver the best in patient-centered care.

She has influenced hundreds of organizations and thousands of leaders to equip their cultures and instill competencies that create environments of person-centered excellence. Her fundamental tenet is that every person is worthy of an environment where they feel confident in receiving and delivering the best possible care. Known as a leader among leaders, Katie previously served on the HealthStream Leadership Team as Vice President of the Engagement Institute. She also served on the Baptist Health Care (BHC) leadership team in Pensacola, Florida, where she supported the system’s sustained journey to excellence. Katie has led teams of expert coaches dedicated to improving the quality of the patient experience and has been instrumental in creating leading-edge learning assets to support patient experience competencies. She is most proud of having grown Baptist Leadership Group to one of the most respected healthcare coaching practices in the country before being acquired by HealthStream in 2013.

Katie is the lead author of The HCAHPS Imperative for Creating Patient-Centered Excellence and is currently writing her second book about the importance of speaking the patient’s language. She is frequently quoted and has been published in the Huffington Post, Healthcare Financial Management Magazine and Hospitals and Health Networks. She is an energetic, internationally-recognized speaker and has presented for many highly-respected organizations, including American College of Healthcare Executives, Beryl Institute, Cleveland Clinic’s Empathy Summit, Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development, and Healthcare Financial Management Association.

Connect with Katie Owens
More episodes with Katie Owens
Meet George Avila, VP, Mission Integration – CHRISTUS Health
Meet Melissa Wurm, Director, PX – CHRISTUS Health