[APPLAUSE] ALAN LEE: Good morning.
ALAN LEE: That was a Friday morning greeting if ever I've heard one. I hope you are all well. I'm incredibly excited to be here. It's always an honor to have this opportunity.
I thank my dear friend and colleague Brooke Hollis, as well as [INAUDIBLE] for this opportunity. And what we'll do is I've created a bit of a slide deck that's a story, a journey. And part of it is my own, but I think more meaningfully, talking about this concept of intersection. And I will encourage that if there's anything that you see, that you do ask questions. I want to try to move through the deck in a fairly timely way so that we can have a more meaningful dialogue.
So a little bit about the organization where I'm working now, New York Presbyterian Hospital. And we'll talk about the complexity of that place. But NYP ranks number 10 in the nation. It has gone as high up as number six. And it's been on the honor roll for quite a number of years of the highest ranking hospitals in the nation.
It's number one in the New York metropolitan area. Nationally ranked in 14 specialties and 10 pediatric specialties. It's rated high performing in two adult specialties and seven adult procedures, and an extraordinary place in and of itself.
So it's also quite complex. It's the only leading academic medical center in the nation that's actually supported by two different medical schools. That's pretty much an unheard of concept.
But there was a merger that occurred 20 years ago between what was the second oldest hospital in the United States, New York Hospital, which is the Weill Cornell campus, and Columbia Presbyterian, which is also one of the older institutions. And everybody and their mother would have guessed this will absolutely never work. And you can imagine the journey and the pain of that journey to get these two competitors to merge as one hospital quite a number of years ago.
So when we talk about the NYP enterprise, it either-- if we say NYPH, or New York Presbyterian Hospital-- and I'll talk about how we define what's the hospital. There's also our Regional Hospital Network. There's also the NYP Physician Services that I'll spend a brief moment talking about, as well as our community and population health. So relative to NYPH, here's what's extraordinarily complex.
You have now seven campuses that make up one license, one hospital. So those seven campuses, it's New York Presbyterian, Weill Cornell, which I think many of you are very familiar with on the Upper East Side, York Avenue at 68th street, and then we have the Columbia University Irving Medical Center, which is also called the Columbia campus, and that's up near the George Washington Bridge up in Fort Washington. And those two are the two largest.
A block away from the Columbia campus, though, is the Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of New York, which is extraordinary and highly ranked in quite a number of specialties as well. You have out in the West Chester division, out in White Plains New York, which is a behavioral health hospital. And if you can imagine more than 150 years ago, it was constructed as a psychiatric hospital. So it has some extraordinary history. And psychiatry is one of the leading areas that we have always within the top four in the nation.
Our Lawrence Hospital, which is the newest within the fully acquisition mergered hospitals that we have, also out in West Chester County. And then at the northern tip of Manhattan is the Allen Hospital. It's a small community hospital, about 220 beds. And it's literally at the tip there.
And in the opposite direction, toward the bottom of the island of Manhattan, is Lower Manhattan Hospital. So all seven of those campuses, if you will, make up one Medicaid number. And what that really means is when we're in the process of our triennial Joint Commission survey for accreditation, they will generally send about 28 surveyors over a five-day period and deploy them across these seven campuses for the full five days for a very, very comprehensive survey. And that's just not something that you would see anywhere else in the nation.
So when we talk about the enterprise, it also includes what are our regional hospital network. And so those three are NYP Queens, NYP Hudson Valley, which is also up in Westchester County, actually right on the cusp of Westchester and Putnam County, and the one where I am currently working, which is NYP Brooklyn Methodist. and Brooklyn Methodist has some really terrific history. We're excited about a major project that was the first one that I was assigned when I arrived seven months ago. We'll be opening a new ambulatory center there right across the street from the hospital that's going to be state-of-the-art and absolutely game changing for Brooklyn.
Our reality is that with 2.8 million people living in Brooklyn, which makes it the fifth largest city in the United States if it were a freestanding city itself, and yet, we still see too many people that live in Brooklyn crossing over the bridge to get into Manhattan for their care. So one of the things that we have to do is to ensure that we're helping people to know what is offered right there in Brooklyn and strengthening our clinical offerings. And that's an exciting thing for us.
A little bit more about the complexity of our system. A little over 4,000 inpatient beds, 1.2 million inpatient days per year. And this data is from 2017. 221,000 or 222,000 discharges.
Babies are born every single day at our hospital. There are some small towns in the United States that don't have a population of 26,000, and that's how many deliveries we have per year. Our outpatient visits is over 3.3 million.
Our ambulatory surgery is 147,000. Our ED visits, that's another one. And that just gives the complexity of how busy all of our emergency departments are, 681,000.
Five years ago, a little over five years ago, NYP was five hospital campuses. We had 23,000 employees. In five years, that has gone to what is now 10 campuses and nearly 47,000 employees. And that's not including our physicians, which adds another 10,000 to it. So it's an extraordinarily complex place.
One of the things that our-- bless you. One of the things that our leader, the chief executive officer of NYP, Dr. Steven Corwin, who is a cardiologist, and he's a Columbia doctor, and has been with the organization for many, many, many years. This quote, "NYP has a powerful vision to be the preeminent institution in delivering patient care, building on our solid foundation that we have what it takes to make this vision a reality. And that is the people, the passion, and the will."
One of the things I love about the power of this statement, which is quite a visionary statement in and of itself, is he does not focus on clinical delivery in this. He does not focus on sort of our technical or technology. All of those elements that clearly we have to be thoughtful about, but it really is people and passion and will that will fuel that kind of excellence that he speaks. He is an extraordinary, extraordinary health care leader. We are very fortunate and blessed in that way.
So a little about my own professional journey. Back in-- I'm going to date myself a number of years ago. But back in 1991, I was trying to figure out, what do I want to do next? I had finished my undergraduate studies and had not yet decided to go to graduate school, and had a few friends that were working in the hospitality industry.
And my roommate at the time, who was also trying to figure out his life-- and he was an interesting story. He was a struggling actor and a model. But between gigs, he was working at a hotel.
And he would just come home every single day with pockets that were sort of bloated out to here because he was a bellman in a hotel. And he would count his money, and I'm thinking, OK, I'm 25 years old. That could be something interesting for me to look into.
So I actually went and applied at about five hotels. And fortunately, within two weeks, got offers to go and work at all of those hotels and had to make a choice. But it was actually-- the first hotel I worked at was Hotel Macklowe, which was a major developer in New York City, Harry Macklowe, who was sort of in his first foray opening a hotel. He had quite a number of residential properties. And he and the current president were probably the two most significant real estate moguls in New York.
But it was Hotel Ma Macklowe, and I took on the role of one of our bellman there. And I'll talk a little about the journey from that to now being chief operating officer, which I think could not be made up and it's an extraordinarily fortunate and blessed story. Hotel Macklowe a number of years in was actually sold to Millennium Copthorne Hotels. And so while I was there in hospitality-- and we were talking about this at breakfast this morning-- the common thing is that in hospitality, you're going to do a lot of movement, and you'll generally move quite a bit within one place, or you're going to move to grow your career to other hotels, sometimes within the same system, and sometimes outside of, but that that is a very common thing.
I was actually at that first hotel for nine years. I began as a bellman, and then I became the lead bell captain managing all of the bell and door staff with three assistant bell captains and the bellman and doorman. Then I became director of guest services, taking on the concierge staff and front desk and telecommunications. And then I became executive director of housekeeping, and I thought, OK, the rest of this journey has made sense. I know almost nothing about housekeeping.
And they said, well, we've gone through five executive housekeepers that were all experts in the field, and yet we've not gotten to where we need to get to. Your lobby services, Alan, clearly have thrived. And we think that if we can create that same service culture in housekeeping, we'll get to the results.
It was an amazing opportunity to lead. And housekeeping is generally the largest workforce in any hotel. We were able to accomplish some really terrific things. I did that for a few years, and then was promoted to senior assistant manager.
And after nine years, I was clear. I'm ready to do something different. I'd like to open a luxury hotel. I'd really like to do something very high end.
And I enjoy opening. Many people in hospitality will say only the crazy enjoy it, because it's just insane work for a number of months. Really around the clock.
So I went to open the Regent when it returned to New York, New York City down at Wall Street in this stunning location, 55 wall, which is just legendary in and of itself. But a great project there. And Manfred Timmel was the general manager who had opened several luxury hotels around the world and in New York.
Two and a half years into that, he actually left and went to open Ritz Carlton New York, Battery Park. And he had made a commitment not to bring any of the team. But I was leading his largest workforce at Regent. And we had some outstanding success fortunately and immediately when we opened.
And he said, Alan, can we have lunch? And I said, sure, we can have lunch. And so we went and had a discreet conversation.
And he said, you know, I'm not supposed to do this, but if you were to say that you're reaching out to me, it would be great. But I'd love for us to work the magic again that we did at Regent to open Ritz Carlton. And there were two Ritz Carlton Hotels opening at the same time. There's the Battery Park Hotel, which is a waterfront property at the time, and then there was the Central Park property that was opening as well. And I actually was helping both teams from a housekeeping perspective to get ready for those openings.
That one was particularly interesting, because I was working there, and I remember the morning of 9/11 on my way to work, I did something that was unusual. But I live in New Jersey, and sort of took the path in into the World Trade Center, and I was walking the few blocks from the World Trade Center to work, and we had not opened yet. We were expecting to open in about five weeks from then.
And I called my boss and I left the most bizarre message. And I said, Jeff, this is Alan. I'm on my way to work.
I'm not calling you with any specific intent other than to say that the world feels different today. I have no idea to this day what that meant. But I do remember that walk, something felt different.
I got to the hotel. We went into an exec committee meeting, and something strange occurred with several of the leaders on my team who came and interrupted the meeting to let us know that something had just happened at the World Trade Center, and there was some sort of explosion. And we thanked them, and they interrupted a second time and said, it looks pretty severe. You might want to come and take a look.
And we walked outside and saw and watched the second plane barely clear our tower and go right into the second tower, and thought, this is just unbelievable. Our hotel immediately sort of transitioned as we got the evacuation and all sort of ran for our lives as far as we could to safety. But over the next number of days and weeks, our primary focus was to be the place of respite for all of the rescue workers, the firefighters, and police officers, and military that were there really looking for anything that they could in terms of life or those who were looking also for their colleagues and friends. It was an extraordinary experience.
It did delay our opening, and we prepared for an opening. Generally, with Ritz Carlton Hotels, the standards are incredibly sort of succinct. And you train to those standards, and it is a recipe that works amazingly well around the world. At any Ritz Carlton Hotel that you go to, no matter what language or where in the world you are, it's a very specific experience that you can expect. And it works incredibly well.
So we were able to both recruit and train our team. And someone said to me, generally, you're not going to get to your five diamond rating within the first three years. And I'm thinking, I'm a little bit too competitive for that. We don't have the patience for waiting three years.
This team will achieve five diamond in less than one year, which had not happened with an American Ritz Carlton. And we just thought, we have to. We were very, very fortunate that actually, nine months in, we were awarded five diamond status at Ritz Carlton.
So I was there for a few years after we opened it. And then I had been approached a couple of times to go and work for Ian Schrager Hotels. Ian Schrager is the godfather of hospitality in the United States.
The story is an interesting story with Ian Schrager. He and Steve Rubell, a name that some of you may be aware of, are the two people that went into the nightclub industry in New York City and had some of the most legendary nightclubs, including Studio 54. And legendary is probably the right term to use.
That was a time in New York where the people who were going out had to sort of stand in a crowd to see who had the right look to be invited into the club and know who would make it in and who would make it-- who would not. And Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager were partners during that time. I won't belabor that history.
But Ian Schrager then made his foray into hospitality. And he liked what he was seeing in Europe, that there were all these smaller boutique hotels that were very, very high on design element. And so given some of my professional journey, I was asked to come and lead the housekeeping team at Hudson, which was his largest.
So most of us hotels were 200 guest rooms or smaller. Some of them were as small as 60 rooms. And his largest really had been 200 rooms.
He was opening this Hudson, which had over 600 rooms. And that's large for a boutique hotel. And it was interesting, because he was still going back to his nightclub days, it had a couple of sort of settings, but one of them, every single night, wrapping around the city block would be a line of people waiting to get into the Hudson bar, which I thought was just extraordinary. And only Ian Schrager could achieve that.
But did join Ian Schrager and his team at Hudson for a period of time before I got a phone call from a hospital in New York. And actually, I shouldn't say from a hospital. It was a recruitment firm. And they called and said, we are looking to recruit an executive as a director of environmental services at Hackensack Medical Center.
And I said, I'm sorry? I have no idea, no experience in health care, so I'm not even clear on why you're calling me. I'm honored, but I'm clear about that at all. And through some conversation, they said it's quite intentional. All of the candidates that we are pursuing have a background like yours.
So once I knew that-- and New York is large, but small. The hospitality industry in New York is large, but small. There are very few hotels where I don't have friends and connections. So when they said we've narrowed our search down to five people, I certainly had a good sense of who the five would be in that arena. And although we couldn't sort of say anything to each other, we were all candidates going through the process.
And something about me said, OK, I'm ready to do something different. So I applied to three hotels, and I said, I'll have the conversation with Hackensack. And during the course of a nine-day period, I got four offers.
The other three were hotels and operations in hotels. One was another hotel opening, which was the Gansevoort at the time. Another was a very staid-- it was the New York Palace Hotel for a great opportunity there. So the hotel opportunities made sense to me.
But I paused and said, what are you afraid of, Alan? And I thought, what an amazing opportunity it would be to make the transition into health care. I could certainly learn a new skill set that clearly is unfamiliar to me.
And something about me-- just so that you know, I actually like things that frighten me. I like crazy roller coasters. I like skydiving.
I don't get to skydive anymore. my wife forbids it. But if she did not, I'd probably be doing it a whole lot more. And it's not that I don't have the fear, but I like pushing through that which frightens me.
The opportunity to really learn a new skill set and really think about how I'm learning was exciting. So I joined the team at Hackensack Medical Center, responsible for environmental services, which really is the housekeeping group, if you will, of the hospital. And that was wonderful as a career point, because we were able to take that team from the 33rd percentile in the national database of hospitals to the 92nd percentile in terms of their results. And out of that, I received some other opportunities, telecommunications and the lobby services, and really building a different sort of platform for how we look at patient experience at Hackensack.
In my sixth year there, Quint Studer, who is the president and CEO of the Studer Group, and it's a large consulting firm in health care that helps hospitals improve patient experience, in his closing three-day conference told a story about a director of environmental services at a hospital in New Jersey. That story happened to have been about me and some transformational work that had occurred. And thereby, I received a phone call from New York Presbyterian, Dr. Laura Forese, who was then the chief operating officer of Weill Cornell, was looking to recruit a new vice president for support services.
So that's sort of where my journey continued. I worked at Weill Cornell in support services, and also responsible for patient experience for the entire enterprise over about six years before I was asked to go and lead clinical operations, which included everything from all of our procedural areas, such as the ORs, endoscopy, cystoscopy, the cath lab, the EP lab, all of our procedural areas, the emergency department, radiology, all of our ancillary services, construction design, really just sort of leading the Columbia campus and forging better relations between our physicians there and the hospital staff. Did that for about 3 and 1/2 years before I was asked seven months ago to go to Brooklyn Methodist as chief operating officer. So the journey itself has been interesting. I keep saying I'm not sure what I'm going to be when I grow up, but I am enjoying the journey.
I remember at Ritz Carlton something that, from a branding perspective, that is so powerful. Language does matter. And you have to be very clear on who you aspire to be as an organization or as an individual. And I loved the sort of orientation, if you will, around this language.
Credo is all about what we believe. And if you think about a time long before many of you may remember, but certainly, for some of us in the room, we can remember being students in any American classroom, and at the beginning of the day, you would start the day by having students stand by their desks, turning toward the flag in the room, placing the right hand over the heart, and beginning to recite every single day the Pledge of Allegiance. If you think about younger students, they're not going to know what all of the words mean. But as you inculturate with that, you are building the brand. Ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.
So at NYP, we built our own credo over the last few years. I've been instrumental in that. It actually has amended itself a bit this year.
And some of the language is around what we believe, what we'll do, and what we'll not do. So I think it's largely about, in terms of the intersection, what's going on. How do we bring it all together to really drive improvement with patient experience?
It's not enough that they know that they'll have access to world-class physicians and surgeons, but their experience needs to be what will lead it. And so you think about both of these, and experience gets measured. In health care, it's HCAHPS, and other of our CAHPS surveys. And we have in the hospitality industry, there's AAA's five diamond, or Forbes with the five stars, and all of these others here.
I think we look for how patients will rate their experience. And they're rating that based on responsiveness, cleanliness, comfort, food, respect, access, the environment itself, quality, and how we communicate as well and, the use of technology. All of those things come together in thoughtful ways. We engage patients as advisors to really design the future of health care as well when we look at opening new settings.
You'll see some of that here. You know Steelcase says, "by designing patient rooms that encourage healing, provide modern conveniences, and give patients a quiet respite, patient perspectives on care improve." And when you're getting that engagement, also the outcomes will improve. You'll see things like in the women's and children's spaces, where we've really brought really terrific thinkers in terms of design and hospitality leaders to think about what will be the services and the amenities and the things that we need to be mindful and thoughtful of to attract? Women's and children's hospitals are really what sort of drove the genesis of the integration we're talking about today where they started to purposely seek out people in hospitality to come into the health care arena.
I think customer satisfaction is important. When you have a highly engaged customer, and in this case, a patient, you are improving your quality and value. And I've outlined here just some of how that's achieved in health care through clinical improvements.
You have to focus on your operations. It needs to be timely. It needs to be communicative. It needs to be connective.
Obviously, we have to be good fiscal stewards. Financial acumen is important. And working on increasing and improving your staff engagement. As you grow through a complex institution like ours, staff ultimately have to lead that cultural experience for you to be nimble.
I am an amazing fan, as Brooke well knows, of so much of the work that has occurred here. This institution is an international leader. And it has gone through so much iteration and evolution.
And just the fact that you're able to bring programs like this together, which most universities in the United States have not gotten to that sort of thinking yet. The schools tend to be extraordinarily siloed without recognizing that the world will interface and interconnect. So it would be smart that we start students thinking that way. Hospitality leaders, I think, are driving improvement in health care. And these programs are pioneers in the field.
Some of the evolving opportunities, some names that are people that I've worked with. We call him GVG, Gerard von Grinsven, who was one of the founding execs with Ritz Carlton Hotels. Who then did something shocking in the health care arena where he went to work and open as a CEO Henry Ford Hospital, and sort of created this whole single-bedded luxury hospital experience at Henry Ford. And then became the CEO of Cancer Treatment Centers of America, which he's not at anymore, but did that for a while as well.
Sven Gierlinger, also from Ritz Carlton Hotels, is the chief experience officer at Northwell, leading, obviously, patient experience. Another person who I actually recruited from Ritz Carlton, Kunle Modupe came to work for us at NYP, and then I encouraged him to look at the opportunity at Hackensack to go as vice president of hospitality services. And there, It's the softer services, but it does include security and facilities and construction and some of those areas.
And I think there are quite a number of others. I've been able to bring on about six executive chefs from the hospitality industry. You can imagine that nobody raves about the food in a hospital.
So we're working to change that perception as well. But quite a number of others. And I think it should not be linked only to the support services.
Spending just a very brief amount of time on what I shared with you, I thought that this story was so simplistic. So New York state as a state is the second worst performing state in the entire nation from a patient experience perspective in health care. Our patients do not rave about their experience. Anybody in the room want to take a guess at what's the worst performing state in the country with patient satisfaction? Throw out a state, any state.
ALAN LEE: Michigan? That's not it, but that's probably a good guess. And I would imagine that they're also challenged. This is going to shock you, as it did me. The worst performing state in the entire country with patient satisfaction is Hawaii.
And that's the look that I have when I first saw them. I'm like, what? And I'm thinking, well, first of all, it must be tourists who are just mad to be in a hospital, because how can you be upset about anything in Hawaii? But the only state that that is nearly as bad as New York. So We have some real work to do.
And what I liked about this article that you read is he did something shocking when he's asking them to sort of lead with love. That is unheard of. We don't generally, in the health care, particularly, use language like that.
I think when he talked about the admissions process, patients present with a lot of fear and anxiety. Not only the pain, but the anxiety of what's the unknown. What will be learned? What might come out of all of this?
That then moves from their inpatient care to just experiencing the discomfort that they're in. And quite frankly, just in a hospital bed looking at the four walls all day long, how do we engage them? And at the discharge, are they actually feeling prepared for that next step, or do we leave them feeling abandoned? Each stage offers opportunities to create loving connections, he said, with patients by demonstrating concerns, tenderness, and providing consolation, and even cheer. That's just really surprising stuff.
A couple of quotes from him, "every time you interact with a patient, tell them who you are, what you're there to do, and then share a heartfelt why." Patients don't know all of the many different clinical and non-clinical disciplines that are entering the room through the course of the day. We have to help orient them with that and really help diminish their anxieties.
"Success required that everyone, every day, open their hearts to those that we are caring for." And he also said, "if you want to innovate, you need to be inspired, your colleagues need to be inspired, and ultimately, your customer, our patients and their families, need to be inspired." So what's important to me? I think constantly being open to change.
I believe we live in an evolving world. As I get ready to wrap this up, I'll share real quickly this analogy that I often think about. Human beings are strangely averse to change. And yet, we have been changing for our entire human experience.
If you think about the process of birth itself, when a woman is carrying in her womb a baby, over nine months, not only is her body changing, but that baby is growing in the womb. And then there is what we believe to be the most traumatic experience in our human journey, which is the process of birth, where that baby, who is quite content, despite the fact that it's a little bit more confined here, quite content, who gets to live off of the sound of its mother's heartbeat, and everything that he or she needs is met in terms of their needs. But the world forces whether through-- whether it's going to be a natural or vaginal delivery or a c-section, there is a change that occurs.
And quite frankly, none of us in this room looks quite the way we did on the day we were born, thank god. And that means we've been changing ever since. So I think we have to be very open to change as it occurs and how we present in that change.
Really think about what are your natural talents? What gets you excited? Where are your passions, your fuels that will drive you toward that journey of excellence?
The fact that you are here at Cornell University, which is an international leader, you're at one of the most elite settings, you clearly are all driven by a need to excel. And demonstrate it and to share and really allow, what am I great at and what gets me excited? And the more that you focus on that, the less than it ever feels like work.
My own sense is that servant leadership has mattered. And I want to make sure that whatever I'm doing, I'm able to bring my passions every day to make sure that I'm listening well, but also learning from what I have heard. So I'm going to pause there and ask if there might be any questions.
SPEAKER 1: [INAUDIBLE]
We have this list of questions here, but I thought we would start in case of something pressing coming from the audience [INAUDIBLE]
ALAN LEE: Don't be shy on a Friday.
SPEAKER 2: So one of the questions was how sustainable is the model of service for [INAUDIBLE] and if you think that the staff will be able to continue to be motivated to keep this going.
ALAN LEE: So I do know that at that particular hospital, it has been sustained. And I think that there are other great organizations. Before Quint Studer, as an example, went into consulting, he led some really tough environments on the south side of Chicago, a hospital there that he got to the 99th percentile. And then he went to work for Baptist Hospital system as CEO, and they also have retained and sustained really great performance.
I think it is such a foreign notion for many of us in New York in terms of how we come across and what's expected. But I always say that it's absolutely possible, and it's sustainable. Hospitality has figured it out. There are some fantastic hospital-- hotels, rather, in New York City that get to great levels of consistent service.
It is a struggle, I think, in the hospitals. And we'll get to-- we don't have any of the hospitals in New York City itself that have achieved five star. We have gone four star and three star and quite a number that are below that. But I think as we work on how we recruit, and also defining the culture that we're aspiring to be, and build accountability, whether there are unions or not-- building that accountability, I absolutely think it's sustainable.
SPEAKER 2: [INAUDIBLE] Obviously, people submitted these so we can [INAUDIBLE].
AUDIENCE: I wanted to know what you studied as an undergraduate.
ALAN LEE: So believe it or not, that was a completely different track. So my undergraduate, which was at St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas-- and I had a fantastic time. Austin is by far the best city in Texas, very, very cosmopolitan. And I was fortunate then to be on a very different track. I studied theater, believe it or not, in my undergraduate studies.
And so I also had English as a minor, and I also minored in writing. But I just enjoyed communication itself, and I think that training was really terrific and continues to serve in similar ways that when people say now that you're in health care, does your background in hospitality continue to serve you. I'm a big believer that we use all of our journey in whatever we're doing. So everything that I've done has served. So undergraduate was in theater, believe it or not.
AUDIENCE: What sort of [INAUDIBLE] are you offering for your hospital employees that are [INAUDIBLE] hospitality mindset or culture? Because as you point out, they can be so [INAUDIBLE]. I don't want to say the words "detached," but to have that scientific mindset to approach issues, sometimes you can't really have the emotional connection [INAUDIBLE].
ALAN LEE: I love the question. I think one of the things that we are struggling with is-- and I've said some provocative things often while I'm at the hospital when we will have a physician or a nurse or someone who is having a less-than-great interaction with their patient. And someone may try to defend and say, he's an extraordinary clinician. He just doesn't have great bedside manner. And I'm like, well, that means he's not an extraordinary clinician.
This is not just science. We actually have to be able to connect with the human being in that bed in a way that makes sense for them. And that's how we'll define what excellence looks like. So we've engaged with Harvard, actually, to build this platform that's called Harvard Mentor Manager for any of our staff to access who work at the hospital. And it has many, many different courses that they can do online. But more importantly than that, we actually bring a lot of leaders in to do leader-to-leader training and leader-to-leader sessions on how we engage the workforce.
We'll do some very specific work around how do you optimize recruitment itself. Because you've got to first get the right person in the right role and create an environment where they will bring their best to work every day. And it's something that I think hospitality does extraordinarily well.
Historically in health care, you're looking at what's the technical or clinical skill set and the experience without looking at the human part of that. And I think that we're starting to really think about that different. A lot of the hospitals across the country, including places like Mass General-- not Mass General. Oh, my goodness. UCLA has done some great work-- Mayo Clinic, which is the number one hospital every year. And it's a very strong culture. And Mayo Clinic is the only one that has achieved five stars out of the leading academic medical centers.
They are really thinking about the onboarding process and very clearly defining standards of what professional behavior looks, sounds, and feels like. So we're learning from a lot of those. And I'm not one who believes we cannot achieve that in New York City, simply because I've seen in another industry it is achieved. But a lot of different types of ways that we do training, whether in settings like this or interactive or online, and a lot more work to be done. Yes, sir.
AUDIENCE: So I work at a Ritz-Carlton too, so [INAUDIBLE]. Do you make employees [INAUDIBLE]?
ALAN LEE: So it's so funny. You use the word "make." I totally understand what you mean. You will carry this. So I loved my experience there. But frankly, I had worked at other organizations even prior to that where we instituted things that were very clear. And we actually are encouraging all of our workforce. It is a big part of their general orientation process. We ask them to keep it on their person, particularly as they go through their orientation.
And I always tell them when I speak at orientation at the multiple campuses-- I'm like, guys, we live in metropolitan New York City. We engage in some of the most insane activity and behavior anywhere else on the Earth. Think about it.
We leave our houses. We then go and stand on a platform, crowded platform. We wait for a train to arrive down in the bowels of the Earth. We wait for that train to arrive. The doors open. We cram as many human beings as we can into a car.
It's the single most intimate thing that you're going to be doing with people touching you on all sides. And we pretend it's not happening. So we either look up to avoid eye contact and engagement, or we look down, or we just pretend this is not happening. I always say, that's an opportunity to take it right out of your pocket and read your credo card to orient yourself to New York Presbyterian. I think that those are good opportunities.
I don't think I see the same rigor exercised that we're familiar with at Ritz Carlton Hotels where you know that any of the ladies and gentlemen that work there at any given time, no matter what shift, will always have it on their person-- not only that. They can recite the language with great clarity and poise. So I think a lot more to be learned from that. However, we have seen that there is a shift in our culture just by implementing that a few years ago. It's been about four years now, and our staff speak about it. And they'll call people out, and they say, this is not respect when I was spoken to this way. And so they're holding-- building accountability through that, I think, as well. Thank you.
SPEAKER 2: So just one last, and then we'll be out of time. But somebody [INAUDIBLE] obviously, you've touched on some of the ways besides your hospitality skills. Are there things in addition to [INAUDIBLE], which seems to be an interesting area that hospitality is [INAUDIBLE]. Are there other things from health care [INAUDIBLE] apply in the hospitality in the same way?
ALAN LEE: It's very interesting. I think the two industries can learn from each other. It is for me still intriguing that the word "hospital" is part of hospitality. I believe as we start to focus on programs like employee wellness-- and believe it or not, that initial focus was more on physicians, because we're seeing now a lot of physician burnout. And we also are seeing extreme burnout, unfortunately a number of suicides that occur with our-- particularly the resident populations across the United States. So over the last number of years, we've really focused on wellness programs for the entire workforce.
NYP is one of those organizations that's been very, very fortunate because it's broad. We look at nutrition. We look at exercise. We look at yoga. And we'll do sessions on the campuses right where they work, and memberships to fitness centers and things like that. We look at the total human being in a very different way. It's got to be about your emotional wellness, your physical wellness, your intellectual wellness, your spiritual wellness, and what are the needs.
We make sure that we're not only dealing with what's going on at work, but our employee assistance programs, which I think hospitality does fairly well also, are made available for our workforce across. Because we're only going to be as good as we are in our personal lives, quite frankly. And we ask that people go home and do that which refuels them to bring their best selves back to work the very following day.
I think it's-- health care-- the difference for me-- and I'll pause with this real quickly-- I was shocked when I went into health care because there is a sense of urgency in hospitality. People don't understand the almost frenetic pace that occurs to make the magic happen in great hotels. But those teams come together, and it's amazing.
When I went into health care, I would have thought that that's going to be the same or even at a higher pace, and it's very different. It's a very staid pace. It's a little slower than I expected.
But I do think the stakes are very different. People are not coming to the hospital because they want to be there. They're coming because they need to be there, and they're coming with a lot of fear and anxiety. So you have to be very thoughtful about how do we ensure our workforce are emotionally prepared for that and physically prepared for that, and how do we connect more meaningfully with patients.
You get everything from the of birth to the unfortunate passage from this life and everything in between. And how do you help family members during those moments of grief and challenge as well? So it's my pleasure. Thank you.
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The Cornell Institute for Healthy Futures: Health, Hospitality and Design Industry Seminar HADM/DEA 3033/6055.
The March 22, 2019 session titled: An Intersection of Hospitality and Healthcare. The speaker was Alan Lee, MHA, Chief Operating Officer, New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Medical Hospital. This course provides a unique opportunity to students to learn from successful industry leaders with expertise in Health, Hospitality, and Design. Speakers share their views about successful management styles, possible career paths, critical industry-related issues, and qualities conducive to successful business leadership. The speakers are chosen for their knowledge, experience, and proven success in emerging industries that combine the elements of wellness and health. As a student in this course, you will have an unparalleled opportunity to gain insight into the emerging industry at the directly from senior executives.