Customer Reviews: Prescription for Excellence: Leadership Lessons for Creating a World Class Customer Experience from UCLA Health System
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on May 25, 2011
The UCLA Health System went from 36th percentile in patient satisfaction to the 99th in the past three and half years? How did they do it? They put caring back at the center of providing top notch medical care and to put teeth in it they created metrics (and criteria for hiring and promotions and raises) to make certain that everyone at the UCLA Health System walked the talk. One of the most helpful examples from this break through book involve what is referred to as CICARE (pronounced See-I-Care) template for all physicians (on which they are regularly assessed with the results directly tied to their performance review). CICARE includes the following steps: 1. CONNECT - with the patient/family members using Mr./Ms., or by their preferred name 2. INTRODUCE - yourself and your role. 3. COMMUNICATE - what you are going to do, how it will impact the patient, etc 4. ASK - and anticipate patient and/or family needs, questions or concerns. 5. RESPOND - to patient and/or family questions and requests with immediacy. 6. EXIT - courteously explaining what will come next or when you will return.
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on May 24, 2011
Healthcare is a topic that rarely has a consensus of opinions. Many healthcare consumers in the United States view the system as complicated, expensive, uncaring and stacked against them. In his recent book, organizational consultant, Dr. Joseph Michelli, focuses on a crown jewel of the customer/patient experience: The UCLA Health System.

"We are in the business of taking care of people It doesn't matter if you are a doctor, a nurse, or a janitor or if you carry a leadership title, we all must champion and execute on the common goal of coming in every day to make sure we take care of our next patient." Dr. David Feinberg, CEO UCLA Hospital System

Interesting Format

There are 11 chapters, three appendices, a detailed notes section, and separate sources and index areas. I liked that the author included an excerpt from UCLA's Patient Confidentiality Policy, along with their actual Confidentiality Agreement, as separate appendices. None of the chapters are over 30 pages in length which makes the book an engaging read that holds your attention. Dr. Michelli's writing style is friendly, informative and educational. The chapters are divided into five sections, or "Principles," to reinforce the learning aspect. Each chapter begins with a compelling quote from a historical figure. My favorite was "A life is not important except for the impact it has on other lives" by American baseball legend and civil rights activist, Jackie Robinson.

Innovative Learning Features

Two salient features contained in each chapter were "Your Diagnostic Checkup" and "Prescriptive Summary." The first feature asks questions within the chapter to highlight the subject matter and encourage the reader to self-test their understanding. The latter item provides a concise and useful summary of key points.

Courtesy and Respect Theme

From knocking on hospital room doors before entering, to treating each patient as a valued customer, Dr. Michelli presents many examples how and why UCLA promotes the old-fashioned notion of courtesy and respect. This theme is presented by a significant amount of testimonials from actual UCLA caregivers and patients. For example, from Clara Heurta, a sign language interpreter: "I ran through the parking lot screaming and racing to the family to let them know that the patient would receive a heart that night." Or from a patient, Tom C., "We've been floating out in the middle of the ocean on a raft cobbled together out of driftwood and old tires. Suddenly, we've been rescued by the QEII."

Lack of Alternative Health Therapies

For me, the only negative feature of this book was a lack of an alternative health discussion. The author discussed many therapeutic innovations at UCLA such as dog, music and pastoral programs; however, there was no mention of Chinese healing arts such as acupuncture and Tai Chi. I found the omission strange for a diverse UCLA community that promotes a high level of patient-centric focus.

Notable Quotes

"Talent selection and retention is the single most pressing issue for business success over the foreseeable future."

"A moral error would be a physician who gets paged five times to go visit Ms. Jones but it too busy watching the Super Bowl and doesn't get to her until after she dies."

"There is a fine line between cult and culture."

"A full 68% will sever a customer relationship because they were treated poorly by a staff member."

"Your next customer will be your most important one!"

Model for the Future

None of us enjoys contemplating health care decisions; however, if we are going to become ill, UCLA is definitely a prescription for excellence.

Please Note

A McGraw-Hill representative provided me with a complimentary review copy of this book. I was not monetarily compensated for the review by any party that would benefit from a positive analysis.
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on July 16, 2013
I am very proud to have been interviewed for this book and appear on page 237 as a UCLA Healthcare Patient Liaison in Emergency Medicine and as a retired Administrative Specialist, UCLA Radiological Sciences, Santa Monica-UCLA. Dr. Feinberg has created a motto of "one patient at a time" to rebuild the UCLA culture of patient care and the CICARE philosophy which all of UCLA Healthcare now follows to make UCLA Healthcare the BEST IN THE WEST, not just in name, but in all aspects of UCLA patient care. I see this in practice every saturday night in Ronald Reagan-UCLA ER and in the clinics, such as Urology and Pulmonary, where I have been a patient. The outstanding uniforms the staff now wear at the front desks which designate their position in patient care and the expertise which each member provides patients checking in and out of appointments. I am proud to be a member of UCLA Healthcare and Joseph Michelli's book is a tribute to Dr. Feinberg and the entire UCLA Healthcare family.
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on June 23, 2011
This book is about the UCLA Health System. All principles of excellence described in Joseph Michelli's work are applicable for evey venture. Every business is in the business of trust. Joseph Michelli was absolutely right when he wrote " Successful service cultures need champions from the top of the organization ".
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on February 7, 2016
This is an absolutely excellent book! For all of us who work in hospitals we realize how hard it is to truly be excellent even though we feel we are working so hard already. This is not a book at any one individual can implement alone, but it is so inspiring to show us what we can do in greatly improving patient satisfaction. It required perhaps a change in attitude and practice by every employee, every hour or every day. It is inspiring that this can be done!
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on April 10, 2014
As a physician who attended UCLA, I can attest to the accuracy of much of the efforts made by the administration in hiring and orchestrating the improvement necessary to make the best of a great start. The apathy and neglect in much of the facility had led to near rage and disrespect. The efforts were spearheaded by a master motivator and planner. One aspect of the book left out was the purposeful deferment of less profitable procedures to other outside facilities. This is known far and wide by hospital administrators and the staff physicians, but truly was also essential in the financial turn around.
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As indicated in previously published books, Joseph A. Michelli is attracted to and fascinated by organizational excellence. He has an almost (not quite) insatiable curiosity to understand what works, what doesn't, and why. First, he studied Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle (When Fish Fly: Lessons for Creating a Vital and Energized Workplace, co-authored with John Yokoyama, its owner), then Starbucks Coffee and Tea Company (The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary), then Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company (The New Gold Standard: 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton), and now UCLA Health System (Prescription for Excellence: Leadership Lessons for Creating a World Class Customer Experience from UCLA Health System). Notice the descriptive terms: "a vital and energized workplace," "turning ordinary into extraordinary," "creating a legendary customer experience," and "creating a world-class customer experience." All of these terms (not one but all) describe all four organizations.

In this latest volume, Michelli organizes his material within eleven chapters and concludes each of 2-11 with a "Prescription Summary" and then "Prescriptive Action" worksheet" when ending his Conclusion. Readers will also appreciate his insertion of "Your Diagnostic Checkup" sets of self-diagnostic questions throughout the narrative. For example:

Vision: "Have you placed the `face of the customer' in all aspects of your discussions? Do you start meetings with customer service stories? Have you elevated your corporate vision to address aspects of compassionate care of your customers?" (One of five Qs, Page 26)

Safety: "What are the five business-critical safety objectives for your business?" (One of five Qs, Pages 76-77)

Measurement: "What metrics, certifications, or criteria should consumers rely upon to determine quality in your industry? How do you perform against those metrics? Do you educate the consumer as to which criteria really matter?" (One of four Qs, Pages 130-131)

Lean Thinking: "Are you building `lean thinking' efficiency approaches? If not, what alternative strategies do you have in place to revise processes and standardize operations? Do you have cost steering committees and value analysis teams operating in your company?" (One of four Qs, Page 157)

Breakthrough Innovations: "How can you leverage the diversity of your organization to build on your breakthrough innovations and achieve a `center of excellence' for your specific area of innovation?" (One of four Qs, Page 183-184)

Note that none of these is unique to the provision of health care. These and other questions posed by Michelli should be asked and then answered by leaders in any organization, whatever its size and nature may be. It should also be noted that the sets of questions also accomplish two other strategic objectives: (1) they require the reader to interact with the material by correlating it with her or his own specific circumstances and (2) they facilitate, indeed expedite frequent review of key issues later, serving as "gut checks" or "reality checks" when measuring progress, to date, of change initiatives.

Michelli observes, "UCLA Health System is among the most complicated organizations that you will ever encounter. In essence, it is at least three businesses in one: a world-class medical-care provider, an extraordinary medical training center, and a cutting-edge research facility where the future of medicine is being created today." If this book were a novel, Dr. David Feinberg would be its hero and protagonist. However, the other "characters" are comparable in terms of number and variety with those in a novel by Tolstoy. There are hundreds of real-world situations throughout the book that illustrate the process by which UCLA Health System's leaders (at all levels and in all departments) have achieved and then sustained operational excellence. Michelli leaves no doubt that this unique professional community will continue to improve, guided and informed by a shared commitment in four specific areas: growing while maintaining superior quality, inspiring breakthrough innovation while generating cohesion, balancing technological advances with authentic humanity, and achieving recognition and respect for extraordinary accomplishments.

In my opinion, this is Joseph Michelli's most important book...and his most valuable book...thus far. I also think it is his most entertaining. Bravo!
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on July 25, 2011
In Prescription for Excellence, author and organizational consultant Joseph Michelli brings to the business world a brilliant in-depth portrayal of a world class organization's journey of excellence. More than that, he presents a connect the dots primmer for any other business or industry leadership team striving to compete more effectively in today's market. Recall that Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind, insists that business and industry become, "high concept and high touch" in order to stay competitive in the 21st Century. Michelli has now given us an excellent map complete with well laid out road signs to the day to day reality of developing a customer centric organization, one poised for leadership in its field. He takes us step by step through the concept, the promise, and the day to day actualities of producing a world class organization. Very clearly he reminds us that to develop, hold, and bring this vision to life, it must start and be embraced at and from the very top of the organization.
While I can go on for hours extolling the virtues of Michelli's descriptive work in Prescription for Excellence, let me simply say this is not only an excellent portrayal of the work being done at UCLA Health Systems, but should become basic reading - a text book if you will - for every business owner, CEO, manager, or business development consultant who wants to take on a serious growth oriented leadership role. And, it could be argued that this book provides the guidelines and the guidance for any enterprise seeking to grow beyond serving their local community, or that is choosing to become the best producer or provider their field can offer the world.
Allan Hay,
Career Development Consultant, Instructor and Author,
Memory Mining, Digging for Gems from Your Past Good Work
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on January 10, 2015
product was as expected and delivered timely.
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on June 29, 2013
Leave it to a huge system that's a disaster to publish a wild self-promotional tome ahead of its expansion and then get 5 people to do faux reviews. UCLA Health is an incompetent organizational monster that has ruined health care delivery in West Los Angeles and this is one of its authors.
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