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Patient Experience is Bigger Than HCAHPS Scores

By Jennifer Thew RN  
   April 17, 2018

A difficult experience with the healthcare system inspired one nurse leader to improve patient experience through patient- and family-centered care.

Sharon Quinlan's passion for patient experience grew out of her personal experience with the healthcare system. 

"When I was in my 30s, both my parents, in short succession, went through really complex, multiple chronic disease conditions and, then ultimately, passed away," says the vice president/chief nursing officer of ambulatory at the newly merged Advocate Aurora Health. "So, I experienced the healthcare system from a lens that I had never experienced it before. I'll tell you the healthcare system didn't look very good to me through that lens."

Even as a healthcare professional, navigating the system was a challenge. And communication was subpar.

"The ways that clinicians and other caregivers communicated didn't respect the dignity of my parents or of my family. The healthcare system was helping us achieve our clinical outcomes but wasn't helping us with the burden of illness," says Quinlan, MSN, MBA, RN, NEA-BC. "It really changed the way I thought about my practice and my leadership."

As a result, she became a proponent of patient- and family-centered care. Over the years, she has worked to promote partnerships between patients and the organizations where she has worked. Here are some of her insights on enhancing patient experience.

Following are the highlights of Quinlan's recent interview with Health Leaders Media. The transcript has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.

Jennifer Thew, RN, is the senior nursing editor at HealthLeaders.

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