As a marketing consultant for over 20 years, I’d been focused on client/customer service. So, when I sat in the hospital at my sister Joan’s bedside seeing her condition improve during the first week, I began assessing the patient service from the many healthcare professionals who came into her room, as well as others I observed throughout the hospital.
I began to jot down notes about my observations: how the healthcare professionals acted, what they did and how they treated patients and family members. My plan was to meet with the head of the Intensive Care Unit when my sister was discharged. Tragically, my sister took a turn for the worse and died two weeks after she had been admitted to the hospital.
When I returned home, I came across my notes and debated if I should write an email to the head of the ICU. I thought that if I were that person, I would want to know what I had observed. I wrote Joan’s Family Bill of Rights in memory of my sister, with the hope that the hospital would make improvements in patient and family member care.
The head of the ICU later told me that she cried when she read the document. She passed it along to the hospital CEO and he, in turn, sent it to the heads of the healthcare system. They called me to talk and, within three months, flew me across the country to make three presentations at their facilities.
They videotaped the presentations and said that they would become the “cornerstone” of their training program. This healthcare system took a document written to help improve patient and family member care and used it as a training tool in their hospitals. I’m exceedingly impressed, because they listened.
Although I was prepared to return my marketing company, I was shocked at the number of people who were lined up after each presentation to tell me their stories. I couldn’t believe that healthcare professionals had the same experiences that I did.
I decided to devote my life to improving the patient experience.
Since 2012 I’ve been working with organizations whose mission aligns with mine – improve the patient experience. I’d like to hear from you.
Barbara and her sister Joan grew up as the daughters of a career military officer and lived throughout the world. Barbara spent her first three years in school outside of Tokyo at Tachikawa Air Force base and junior high school in Madrid at Torrejon Air Base.
After graduating from college, she married and reared two children. When her sons were in school, Barbara began a career as a journalist writing for women’s magazines such as Ladies Home Journal, Woman’s Day, McCalls, Family Circle and Redbook. Later she wrote for business publications including The Wall Street Journal. As an on-camera reporter for an ABC affiliate, Barbara covered consumer, health and safety issues. She worked in corporate marketing before founding a marketing company in 1990.
Several years later, Barbara went back to school to obtain her MBA at the Anderson School at UCLA, where she now lectures. Upon graduation in 1995, she teamed up with one of her classmates to form Centurion Consulting Group. Her area of expertise is marketing and communications. Eight years later, she and her partner started a second company, MarQuant Analytics, which provides marketing allocation analytical tools and services for Fortune 500 companies. The two split their businesses in 2009.
Barbara has been a frequent speaker at national, state and local conferences. She continues to write, contributing to industry publications. Barbara holds a black belt in karate and taught self-defense at Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles for over 10 years and karate to children at the Beverly Hills Karate Academy.
Barbara was a board member of the Orthopaedic Hospital Institutional Review Board for seven years, Chairman of Reading is Fundamental of Southern California and the past president of her former homeowners’ association in Bel Air, California.
Then her sister passed away.