The “Experience Collaborative”

Through the “Experience Collaborative” in Cedars-Sinai’s Patient & Family Advisor Program, patient and family advisors work with the system’s Patient Experience team to co-design initiatives and make recommendations to improve different facets of patient experience. Together, these groups address topics such as enhancing physician and nursing skills in patient communication, reimagining the design of patient rooms, introducing the patient journey to new employees and navigating the COVID-19 experience. How does this build trustworthiness? The practice builds trust by creating a clear and impactful path for patients and families to communicate their needs and concerns, and enhances the reliability and consistency of the services Cedars-Sinai provides to those who rely on us for their care.

How It Works

Volunteer Patient and Family Advisors (PFAs) are assigned to the Experience Collaborative (“Collaborative”) hosted by the Cedars-Sinai Patient Experience team. On average, there are fifteen PFAs representing a variety of clinical diagnostic categories, ages, ethnic and racial groups.

Membership in the Collaborative rotates on an annual basis.

Every two months, the Collaborative meets to recommend best practices and help co-design initiatives to address key facets of the patient experience.

To date, topics addressed by the Collaborative include:

  • Redesigning the processes for soliciting inpatient feedback
  • Enhancing physician and nursing skills in patient communication
  • Reimagining the design of patient rooms
  • Introducing the patient journey to new employees
  • Setting patient expectations
  • Enhancing inpatient services and amenities
  • Navigating the COVID-19 experience
  • Improving patient discharge and transition-to-home

The Collaborative’s recommendations are shared with the Medical Center’s clinical and administrative leadership and incorporated into our workflows and processes.

Skills and Competencies

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Empathy
  • Teamwork
  • Collaboration
  • Problem solving

Collaborative meetings create a welcome, safe environment for candid and constructive feedback on the session’s topic. Through icebreakers, ground rules, and group activities, the participants are encouraged to share their personal thoughts and stories to drive the discussion on what Cedars-Sinai can do to improve.

By sharing their personal experiences, trust is fostered to gain deeper insights about the patient journey. This has led to rich feedback from our Collaborative on meaningful ways the Medical Center can make the hospital experience better for our patients, visitors, and staff.


Cedars-Sinai Medical Center supports a comprehensive, hospital-wide Patient & Family Advisor (PFA) program that includes a variety of councils, panels, and committees. These groups generate new ideas to improve the patient experience, spearhead quality improvement projects, review issues that are referred to the PFA Councils, and provide recommendations to hospital operations. The PFA program is comprised of both current and former Cedars-Sinai patients, as well as family members of patients. It now includes more than 45 in-person PFAs who make up our PFA collaborative, committees, and councils, in addition to our 2,550-member Online Patient Advisory Panel.

In April 2019, the Medical Center established a new group under the hospital wide PFA program called the Experience Collaborative. The Collaborative was tasked with bringing the patient’s voice to the table and conducting in-depth explorations of key issues that impact the patient experience.


The Collaborative’s recommendations are shared with the Medical Center’s clinical and administrative leadership, and then incorporated into operational improvements. To monitor the impact of those improvements, the Patient Experience team reviews the status of these initiatives and shares updates during its monthly Patient Experience Leadership meetings. Participants in the Collaborative are subsequently briefed on the impact of their recommendations on an ongoing basis.

The Experience Collaborative plays a meaningful role in building and sustaining trust with our patients and their families by incorporating the patient’s voice early in the Medical Center’s work. The thoughts, observations, and insights of the Experience Collaborative are treated with care and respect, and the impact of their recommendations are communicated clearly and consistently. This nurtures genuine trust with the Collaborative members and, in turn, across the house-wide Patient Experience Program.

Membership on the Experience Collaborative remains high, with no participants resigning from their position since the collaborative’s founding two years ago. Participants also rank their meeting satisfaction very high, with an average of 93% agreeing their time was well spent during our session.


On a yearly basis, Cedars-Sinai averages 270,000 inpatient days and 800,000+ outpatient visits. By ensuring that our patients and their families experience meaningful operational improvements, the Experience Collaborative makes an invaluable contribution to strengthening the trust between Cedars-Sinai and the patients and families it serves.

Additionally, the Collaborative includes patients and family members who have been cared for by the Cedars-Sinai Medical Network, our Emergency Department and Urgent Care Centers. Future plans include extending the Patient & Family Advisors program and the Experience Collaborative format to the Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital and our Medical Network.