Skip to main content
Request a demo

Agility in action: How Northwell uses next-gen listening tools to get critical community feedback at record speed

In brief

  • The challenge: Assessing patient sentiment toward changing COVID-19 policies, so patients in their community would feel heard and safe  
  • The solution: Digital, rapid outreach for feedback from patients who had received care from Northwell in the last three months  
  • Northwell's results: 10k+ patient survey responses returned within two weeks of go-live—and data-validated confirmation of clinical decisions


Top-tier organizations like Northwell Health continue to embrace innovative, digital tools that impact the patient experience in real time. 

Northwell—New York’s largest healthcare provider—consistently sets a high bar as a future-thinking organization on the cutting edge of patient experience. Northwell is eager to embrace innovative, digital tools that allow them the agility and flexibility to adapt to current and pressing challenges—especially during the post-COVID era, where policies are ever shifting.

The challenge: Quickly gauging community sentiment around changing mask mandates

In February 2023, Northwell found itself facing a brand-new challenge: State mask mandates were set to expire. Meaning patients, visitors, and employees would no longer be required, by law, to mask up in its facilities. Though COVID transmission rates had fallen, flu season was in full swing across the five boroughs, and people were still getting sick throughout the communities Northwell serves. Northwell’s clinical team was already hard at work, crafting a plan for evolving masking practices. But how would patients feel about the policy change?

The solution: Digital survey technology that collects patient feedback at the speed of now

Northwell’s leadership knew they needed to act fast, yet intentionally. Partnering with Press Ganey, they made the strategic decision to survey patients to learn how people felt about masks in general, in various care settings (e.g., hospital public areas, general med/surg floors, oncology units, and emergency departments) and for different roles. But they needed these insights in weeks, not months. They collaborated with Press Ganey on the exact questions to ask the community, and arrived at a focused survey about masking comfort and preferences. Then, they leaned on Press Ganey’s real-time digital technology to deploy surveys at scale.

The digital survey was sent via text and email to patients who had received care at Northwell within the past three months. This outreach was separate from Northwell’s ongoing PX survey strategy—and focused strictly on masking preferences.

Press Ganey's Human Experience platform provides a central hub for managing everything from survey design, population sampling, survey administration, and self-service reporting and analytics. This allowed us to plan, build, and execute in a very efficient manner, which ultimately helped us meet a very aggressive project timeline.”

Joseph Narvaez
AVP, Business Intelligence, Office of Patient and Customer Experience, Northwell Health

The results: 10k+ Northwell patients respond in an impressive 2-week timeframe

Within two weeks of go-live, Northwell collected feedback from 10,000+ patients using Press Ganey’s digital survey technology. Patterns in the data indicated that people had greater interest in continuing mask requirements in areas where more vulnerable patients were present, and they were less likely to prefer mask requirements in general or public settings. What’s more, the results helped Northwell feel confident that their clinical decisions around evolving mask requirements would resonate with the greater New York community. Powerful digital tools enabled Northwell to invite the community to the table, make them feel heard, and—most importantly—feel safe.

The Press Ganey HX platform enabled us to rapidly engage our communities at scale. Within three weeks of making the decision to engage, we had robust quantitative and qualitative insights from a diverse demographic array of nearly 11,000 community members. This information provided valuable insights to the Clinical Advisory Group in the decision-making process of our masking guidelines and the accompanying communication strategy with employees and patients.”

Sven Gierlinger
SVP and Chief Experience Officer, Northwell Health

As national rules around masking evolve, healthcare leaders can take a page out of Northwell’s book to bring community voices into the conversation. And what’s more, healthcare organizations can move at the speed of now, with rapid turnaround times for feedback collection.

If you’re interested in learning more about Press Ganey’s best-in-breed Human Experience platform, reach out here, and a member of our team will be in touch ASAP.

About the author

Press Ganey, a leading healthcare performance improvement solutions company, offers an integrated suite of solutions that put Human Experience at the center of healthcare enterprise transformation. Delivered through a cutting-edge digital platform built on a foundation of data security, Press Ganey solutions address patient experience, healthcare consumer experience, workforce engagement, safety, clinical excellence and more. Guided by its team of renowned healthcare thought leaders, Press Ganey works with more than 41,000 healthcare facilities to reduce patient suffering, enhance caregiver resilience and improve the overall safety, quality and experience of care. Press Ganey is a PG Forsta company.

Profile Photo of Press Ganey