The Institute for Healthcare Excellence President and CEO William J. Maples M.D. Co-Founds National Taskforce for Humanity in Healthcare

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IHE President and CEO William J. Maples M.D., Co-Founds National Taskforce for Humanity in Healthcare

Taskforce releases its business case for humanity in healthcare report at the 2018 Chief Experience Officer Roundtable in San Francisco. 

 Jacksonville, FL., April 24, 2018 – The Institute for Healthcare Excellence (IHE), a demonstrated leader in providing integrated solutions aimed at humanizing healthcare is proud to be a co-founder of the National Taskforce for Humanity in Healthcare (NTH). The NTH will release its position paper, which outlines the business case for humanity in healthcare, and promotes a focus on clinician resilience and well-being, during the 14th Chief Experience Officer (CXO) Roundtable April 25-26 in San Francisco.

Physician and caregiver burnout is one of the most significant challenges facing American healthcare today.

“Although we have learned much about the incidence and contributing factors for caregiver burnout, we have made little progress in successfully preventing or treating burnout,” said William J. Maples, M.D., President and CEO of IHE, an organization focused on solutions aimed at creating a culture of excellence rooted in teamwork, trust, respect, and compassion.

“We need to embrace a new way of thinking about burnout, including a measurement system which provides insights around domains of human thriving, and matching solutions which will enable leaders, teams, and individuals to restore human connections and joy to healthcare. We need to restore humanity at the individual and system level.”

Dr. Maples partnered with two physician peers, Ronald Paulus, M.D., MBA, President and CEO of Mission Health, and M. Bridget Duffy, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Vocera and co-founder of the Experience Innovation Network, to co-design and launch the NTH.

The NTH has convened physicians, nurses, and healthcare social change leaders to explore the crisis of burnout and how to create a movement that helps care team members achieve their highest healing potential.

In support of its mission to humanize healthcare, the NTH has outlined three imperatives in its position paper: change the dialogue around burnout; create and adopt a metric for humanity; and design a blueprint for change.

“The NTH is excited to partner with Vocera, Experience Innovation Network and Mission Health in this pioneering and inspiring work focusing on promoting health, joy, and resiliency for all members of the healthcare team,” said Dr. Maples.

“The NTH invites all healthcare organizations that are ready to disrupt the status quo and chart a new human-centered and system approach to restoring joy and resiliency to contact IHE about participating in the pilot program.”

Download the position paper.

About The Institute for Healthcare Excellence
The Institute for Healthcare Excellence partners with healthcare organizations to nurture relational skills necessary to create a culture that embraces trust, respect, compassion, and teamwork – creating an environment where quality, safety, and efficiency can flourish. Through this work, physicians, nurses, and the caregiver team reconnect to purpose and restore joy to the practice of medicine. The result of the culture-transforming work is a restoration of humanity to medicine. Learn more at and follow @The_IHE on Twitter.

Jennifer Krippner , Chief Experience Officer, The Institute for Healthcare Excellence
612-741-8016  | | @The_IHE

Effective communication skills can help you bring awareness, advance care planning to patients

National Healthcare Decisions Day is April 16.

As a caregiver, have you ever encountered patients and families who have thoughtfully considered advance care planning? Most people don’t think about it – until it’s too late. It’s a conversation that might come up when families find themselves around a bed in an intensive care unit, not the kitchen table.

How do you encourage someone to make their wishes known? How do you start the conversation with patients about advance care planning?

The skills taught by The Institute for Healthcare Excellence can help get the conversation started and open the door to gently empower patients to think about their choices and make them known. In addition to contributing to patients’ peace of mind, you might contribute to your own, knowing that you’ve spurred communication between family members in your care.

Practicing the skills of respect, empathy, legitimization, trust and openness can help you offer the support your patients need to make decisions about their care.

“Good reflective listening and offering an empathetic ear can encourage patients to share their wishes and then discuss them with their loved ones,” Linda Scaz, RN, PhD, FCN, says. Dr. Scaz is a member of the faculty at The Institute for Healthcare Excellence and has served as a Senior Director of Clinical Care and Operations at Haven Hospice of Northeast Florida.

“It’s important to be mindful of where people are in their discussion of their current healthcare needs, and use effective communication skills to foster openness,” Dr. Scaz adds.

While it’s not an easy conversation, Dr. Scaz points out that with the right words, even reluctant patients might return to their healthcare provider to continue the discussion. You can be ready to gently open the door for them to start documenting their choices freely and without judgment.

“Effective communication skills are key to helping others express their wishes, help their families honor them, and help your patients be comfortable physically, emotionally and spiritually,” Dr. Scaz says.

Learn more about effective communications in healthcare.  |  See Dr. Scaz’s bio.


It’s important to review advance care plans whenever there is change in decade, death of a loved one, divorce, a new diagnosis or a decline in health. Honoring Choices calls these the “Five Ds.”

Why communication is a patient safety issue

Effective and efficient communication can help create a culture of excellence which in turn delivers value for patients, families, and fellow caregivers.  This value enhances outcomes, safety, and efficiency of care. It also helps patients go home with a plan to restore health and lessen the chances of repeat visits and hospital readmissions.

A study at the University of California, San Francisco, found more than a quarter of hospital readmissions could be avoided with better communication among healthcare teams and between providers and patients.

“A culture of safety is dependent upon moment to moment conversations between caregivers and patients,” says William Maples, MD, CEO of The Institute for Healthcare Excellence.

“How we communicate helps define the culture we create – and clearly drives teamwork. It helps us have meaningful conversations and connect in a way that creates a positive emotional tone.”

There are several indicators that communication is having a positive impact on safety:

  • Effective communication improves perception of teamwork, which is at the heart of safety
  • Effective communication allows for the ability to give authentic and constructive feedback necessary to create a learning environment and safety culture
  • Effective communication can foster psychological safety and promote a willingness to speak up in constructive ways
  • Effective communication promotes teamwork across teams

It’s important to nurture the communication skills to enable the best possible conversations.

“First, are we having the conversations at all, and if we are, are we creating a respectful, considerate, trusting environment,” Dr. Maples asks.

The ability to give open and honest feedback, and to not feel like you’re being criticized or punished in the process of giving feedback is key to creating a safe and trusting learning environment.

“When we don’t have the tools to know how to speak up, it can actually be a detriment for a team that’s attempting to develop a culture of safety,” Dr. Maples says.

Another key element is support from the top. When management views creating a culture of safety as a priority and supports this message, it will help move the culture in a positive direction. And when management’s actions match the message, and are transparent, it catalyzes cultural transformation.

There are three things that can help healthcare organizations develop a culture of safety:

  1. Develop effective communication skills. Skill development cannot be over-emphasized. “We think people come to the table with communication skills, and they may, but we tend to suppress them as we go through our medical career,” Dr. Maples says.
  2. Create a common language and common expectations across the entire healthcare team. Once you provide the skills, organizations can hold caregivers accountable for demonstrating the skills, and provide constructive feedback when a caregiver is not demonstrating the skills in a healthy and respectful way. This can be achieved when a common language and common expectations are provided.
  3. Demonstrate commitment from leadership. Management’s actions should follow words. Leadership will provide the support to hold each other accountable, and the necessary resources to move forward.

The cascade effect
When communication is efficient and effective, the patient and family experience an increase in value of care. By the same token, the bedside caregivers, including the physician and the nurse benefit from creating a team-based and trusting environment.

“Everybody goes home with the sense of ‘we’re on the same team.’ This invokes a sense of appreciation and creates positive emotions which foster engagement and safety for the entire team – with the patient at the center of the team.” It’s a win for everyone involved.

Join Dr. Maples at The Institute for Healthcare Excellence’s Regional Summit in San Diego, Monday, April 30, 2018. Expand your knowledge of effective communication in healthcare.