Stephanie Abbott

Leading the Way | Stephanie Abbott
Story 48

By Kirsten Cutler
Stephanie Abbott

Inspired by her father’s career in healthcare to choose the field herself, Stephanie Abbott was working in human resources for a hospital system in 2009 when something changed.

“There had been people across the country focusing on customer service in healthcare for decades, but in 2009, the government decided to start incentivizing hospitals to improve quality, safety and experience for patients,” Stephanie recalls. “It came to human resources, and I started figuring it out, meeting with leaders, and trying to help them understand improvement.”

Stephanie found the new direction of her career – a shift to patient experience – to be a rewarding change.

“I started reading books and just learning as much as I could at the time,” Stephanie says. “What I really liked about it was being able to connect the dots and help people understand how their efforts make a difference in the lives of both patients and employees.”

Connecting her new focus to the loved ones in her life propelled Stephanie forward then and continues to inform her work as Chief Experience Officer for Adventist Health, a role she started in August.

“Everybody experiences healthcare, including the people that I love most in this world: my husband, my son, my daughter, my parents, my friends that I have made in healthcare,” Stephanie shares. “Along the way, they all interact with healthcare, and my role is to help improve processes and experiences so that my friends can deliver better care, and so the people that I love most have a better experience.”

“Everybody experiences healthcare, including the people that I love most in this world."

Since beginning her work in healthcare, Stephanie says an important shift has started to take place in the industry. “A decade ago, we were focused on ‘patient-centered care,’ with the patient in the middle,” she says. “But it's not the patient or the provider in the middle. It's really the caregiver and the patient, arm-in-arm, in the middle.

And, as Stephanie sees it, everyone in healthcare is a caregiver.

“Everybody in healthcare is doing something to either deliver the care or support the care being provided, and everybody’s role is incredibly important,” she says. “So the experience of our employees and patients is absolutely everything. It's the plate on which we operate, and the processes and systems around it should be designed to create a better experience for our employees, which will then create moments and a better experience for our patients.”

With these goals in mind, Stephanie says she is hopeful and excited about the future of the organization that she now helps lead.

“Adventist Health has inspiring goals,” she shares. “It's about leaning on each other to learn from one another, and then creating the best experience possible. And we are blessed with having incredible leaders throughout our organization and engaged associates who are committed to this, and I'm humbled that I was chosen to help with this role, because it's such an incredible time.”