Stanford Health Care CEO describes his experiences as a trauma patient

David Entwistle

In a recent post in Scope, the Stanford Medicine blog, DAVID ENTWISTLE, president and CEO of Stanford Health Care, described his experiences as a patient in an intensive care unit.

The experience, he writes, taught him about hospitals and the role that technology can play in supporting patients.

“On a Saturday morning in May 2009, I was competing in the Stansbury Park triathlon in Utah,” he wrote. “Roughly 20 miles into the race, for reasons that still aren’t clear, I crashed. I flipped over my bike’s handlebars and slammed into the pavement at roughly 23 miles per hour. When a computerized tomography scan showed that I had a traumatic brain injury, I was transported by life flight to the University of Utah hospital where I was the CEO at the time.

“More than a week passed in the intensive care unit before I finally regained consciousness and embarked on a slow and challenging recovery. It was during this recovery that I first saw my hospital through the eyes of a patient and experienced what it felt like to be completely dependent on the care of others. It was humbling.

“I came to value a few simple things during my stay: when someone took the time to explain why they were doing a certain procedure at the bedside; when someone anticipated what I might need to feel more comfortable; and especially when I received an update about when I could expect to return home.

“As a patient, I learned that these small gestures can make a world of difference. I also learned the power of empathy – how you can help someone immensely by simply being present and attuned to their needs. These are lessons that will always remain with me.

“It has been a decade since my injury, and the field of health care has continued to rapidly evolve in that time. We’re now living in an era where digital technologies – from health apps to internet-connected sensors and devices – are starting to change how patients experience health care. At Stanford, we are embracing this future.”

Enwistle goes on to describe the digitally driven health care, guided by empathy, that will help team members at the new Stanford Hospital better anticipate their patients’ needs.

Read more on the Scope website.