It has been two years since Patrick P. Kneeland, MD, assumed
the role of medical director for Patient and Provider Experience at University
of Colorado Hospital. In an increasingly complex climate where burnout is
common, he’s working to give faculty members access to tools that enhance their
Dr. Kneeland has been focused on three primary areas:
- Finding and implementing strategies that support
improving the experience of patients and providers alike.
- Using actionable and meaningful data to advance the
conversation about measuring patient experience.
- Developing and sharing a framework and mental model
that defines patient experience.
“When we developed the position, it was important to me that
patient and provider experience be considered at the same level,” he said. “We
know from the literature that patients put a lot of weight on their direct
interaction with their physicians. And we also know it’s hard to show up for
patients in a meaningful way if, as a provider, you’re experiencing significant
stress or burnout.”
That’s why a big part of his approach to improving patient
experience is understanding the experiences of physicians and other health care
professionals delivering care.
“So much comes down to relationship-centered
communication—it’s so critical,” he said. “We’ve been focused on ways we can
optimize interaction across our environments.”
Reconnecting to the human element of medicine enables
clinicians to make the best diagnostic and treatment decisions. “It also helps
us as clinicians reconnect to our own professional purpose.”
New Peer-to-Peer Curriculum Enhances Dialogue
Dr. Kneeland helped develop and implement an Excellence in
Communication training curriculum, where faculty members learn “high yield”
skills aimed at improving one-on-one interaction. The four hour, one-time
course brings together 16 faculty member facilitators from across the clinical
“It’s about sharing experiences of faculty members who are
in this to do the best thing for patients,” he said.
The curriculum was launched in September. So far 120 faculty
members at UCH have taken part in this training, and reviews have been
positive. “It gives faculty learners access to a good cross section offering
faculty members a chance to interact with people they might never encounter in
their daily practice.”
Expanding the View of Patient Experience
Dr. Kneeland says that he occasionally hears the
misconception that his role was created to “get physicians in line.” Yet the
opposite is true.
“We want to be leaders in this space—in broadening how we
think about patient experience beyond the typical survey. It’s using
evidence-based practices to do even better by our patients, and by extension,
our faculty,” he said.
He describes that patient experience data tells us, in
general, that patients love our faculty and the care they receive. “But we also
know there are opportunities to do better. Our goal is for every patient in
every circumstance to receive optimal care, and to determine what our faculty
can own in this space.”
“There are challenges in doing this well, but I’m optimistic
about how receptive everyone has been, and how proactive they’ve been in
incorporating these strategies into their own practices.”
Patrick P. Kneeland, MD is the Medical Director for
Patient and Provider Experience at the University of Colorado Hospital and
Director of Safety and Patient Experience for the University of Colorado
Hospital Medicine Group. Dr. Kneeland is a graduate of the University of
Colorado School of Medicine.