Safety, quality and patient experience experts come together for a day of listening and learning

SQE Conference

Front row (l-r): Lewis Goodrum, manager, practice operations; Laura Nichols, practice supervisor; Katie Poitras, practice supervisor; and Christine Plaxa, practice supervisor

Back row (l-r): Susan Vinchesi, director, regional practice ops; Dorie Gemmell, patient experience coordinator; Jean Murray, practice supervisor; Shana Mills, practice supervisor; Rhonda Way, program manager, NEMG patient experience; and Amanda Spencer, practice supervisor

Missing: Jocelyn Roman, practice supervisor


Nearly 1,500 YNHHS employees gathered recently for a dynamic day of learning more about topics of interest to the entire healthcare community. Yale New Haven Health and Yale School of Medicine collaborated to host the 2018 Safety, Quality and Experience Conference. The inaugural event, a combination of YNHHS’ Joseph A. Zaccagnino Patient Safety and Clinical Quality Conference and Patient Experience Conference and the Yale Medicine Quality and Safety Symposium, was held at the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford on May 31.

Keynote speaker Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, the 19th surgeon general of the United States and Yale School of Medicine graduate, addressed a range of topics, including clinician burnout and the importance of self-care, and the ever-changing delivery of medical care and the key fundamental value of building relationships with patients. Dr. Murthy also discussed in detail the challenges of treating and encouraging patients and each other in the face of growing trauma in our communities and our world, suggesting audience members “make a conscious effort to tip the scales away from fear and towards love.”

Susan Goszewski, senior manager in Rehabilitation Services, enjoyed the presentation from ‘America’s Doctor,’ stating “he was very impressive – a very broad thinker that touched on a variety of issues that are so relevant in the healthcare setting. While it is so easy to be fearful in our day-to-day lives, his talk encouraged us all to replace fear with love and move forward with purpose.”

Other conference presentations covered topics such as caring for the caregiver after an adverse event and mindfulness. Motivational speaker and author Tiffany Christensen of The Beryl Institute, a double-lung transplant recipient, also gave a moving presentation on the patient experience from a patient’s perspective.

More than 225 employee teams submitted abstracts for the conference, outlining their projects and plans aimed at improving patient safety, quality and the patient experience.

“After an intensive and highly competitive judging process, judges selected 50 posters to be highlighted and displayed at the conference,” said Richard Martinello, MD, medical director, infection prevention. “Selections were based on criteria such as having clear implications for impacting quality, safety or patient experience.

The NEMG winning team’s project, Improving the Patient Experience in the New London/Westerly Region NEMG Locations, sought to implement strategies to improve Press Ganey patient satisfaction scores. They began by modifying the Press Ganey Survey tool and collected baseline data. They also shared performance measures with all staff versus managers only and conducted training targeting the registration process. Over six months, all goals were exceeded and patient satisfaction scores in this area continue to increase.