Feedback Fanatic: Debra Rosen at NEVHC Establishes a High Visibility Employee Recognition Program

September 19th

Our Feedback Fanatic award recognizes experience champions that are striving to innovate and improve patient and employee experiences, transform culture, and use feedback for positive change. 

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In this Post: 



Feedback Fanatic: Debra Rosen, RN, MPH

Director of Quality, Health Equity and Innovation at NEVHC transforms organizational culture through patient feedback and staff recognition.


Debra (Debbie) was able to quickly implement a staff recognition program at Northeast Valley Health Corporation (NEVHC) to share positive patient comments received via Feedtrail directly with staff and providers and reward those with the most kudos.

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The recognition program improves staff and provider morale, cultivates a culture of recognition and celebration, and reinforces patient-centric practices across their 18 health centers.

NEVHC patients receive an automated text survey after their visit via Feedtrail asking them to recognize any staff that had a positive impact on their visit and experience. Staff and providers that receive positive feedback throughout the week are recognized in a “Feedtrail Friday” email sent by the Chief Medical Officer to all employees. The positive comments are attached in a PDF so everyone can see what patients and families are saying. Monthly they highlight “Feedtrail Friday Frontrunners”- the top performing providers and staff who are recognized by patients four or more times within the month. This group is awarded a “Frontrunner” key tag they can proudly display on their name badge. In implementing the program, Debbie was able to get leadership buy-in and create visibility across the organization showing the impact of fantastic patient experiences.

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Q&A with Debbie Rosen

Ryan Phillips serves as the Customer Success Manager for NEVHC and he sat down with Debbie to discuss how she has worked to transform organizational culture through patient feedback and staff recognition.

Ryan: What would you say was the state of employee recognition before you implemented this recognition program? Where did you start?

Debbie: Before the implementation of this employee recognition program, the state of recognition within our organization was rather scattered. A decade or more ago, we had a ‘CARE card’ system in place, which functioned as a paper-based submission for patients to submit positive feedback. The ‘CARE cards’ were the reverse of a complaint box, asking ‘who would you like to recognize and what did they do,’ similar to what we’re asking with Feedtrail now. I was particularly impressed when I witnessed a clinic administrator share the positive feedback from CARE cards during their department meeting. This moment ignited a realization that we needed to automate and streamline this process to capture more recognition and create an effective system.

 Ryan: What was the connection between having real-time feedback through Feedtrail and staff recognition? 

Debbie: The connection between real-time feedback and staff recognition is pivotal in our approach. Feedtrail’s real-time feedback mechanisms allow us to gather insights when they’re fresh on the patient’s mind and they can recall the details of their experience and the specific staff and providers that had a positive impact. We’re now receiving recognition for ALL our staff members, spanning various departments such as registration, nursing, and more. Additionally, this program reinforces best practices, such as reminding providers to introduce themselves to patients. After all, patients can’t recognize you if they don’t know your name!

Ryan: How did you decide when to share positive feedback from patients with staff? 

Debbie: We aimed to strike a balance between keeping the feedback fresh and maintaining a consistent level of positive reinforcement. To achieve this, we initiated a weekly email communication to our staff from the C-Suite, ensuring that the recognition process remained ongoing and dynamic. Simultaneously, we established a monthly leader board that showcases our continual success in staff recognition. We are actively exploring opportunities for annual recognition events to further highlight our staff’s exceptional contributions.

Ryan: How have you seen this staff recognition program change your organization’s culture? 

Debbie: The impact of our staff recognition program on our organization’s culture has been profound. Prior to its implementation, staff recognition was infrequent with sporadic acknowledgments. But with the initiation of Feedtrail Fridays, recognition has extended to all staff including educators, dieticians, and clinical staff who are now receiving kudos and positive feedback from patients every week. Even staff who don’t have the best scores and feedback can leverage this as a learning opportunity and steppingstone to turn things around and implement practices that are working for their peers.

Ryan: What is the most important step in setting up a successful staff recognition program? 

Debbie: Establishing a successful staff recognition program hinges on securing leadership buy-in. Leadership endorsement serves as a powerful signal to the entire organization, underscoring the importance of recognition. When recognition initiatives are championed from the top, it sends a clear message that our leadership recognizes and values the contributions of our team. This approach leverages the wealth of positive feedback from patients we’re receiving via Feedtrail surveys and ensures that leadership is actively engaged in sharing and acknowledging staff accomplishments.

Ryan: What plans do you have to continue building out the recognition program? 

Debbie: We are committed to keeping the program fresh by continually trying new things. For instance, we recently dedicated an entire week exclusively to sharing positive feedback for our non-clinical staff. This initiative aimed to address the observation that these staff members do not receive recognition as frequently. By diversifying our recognition efforts and embracing new strategies, we aim to create an even more inclusive culture of celebration and appreciation.

Ryan: If you had 15 minutes a week, what would you do to help improve patient experience? 

Debbie: If I only had just 15 minutes each week to improve patient experience, my focus would be on presenting data to our organizational leaders. Data-driven insights can serve as a catalyst for improvement by providing leaders with a tangible foundation to discuss and act upon. I’d specifically provide data on how much recognition is being captured, and the rate at which it’s being shared across the organization. By making our organizational focus on patient experience and recognition visible through data, we create a shared sense of purpose and direction, driving continual improvement in our culture.

Ryan: Thank you Debbie. I’ve been able to see firsthand how incorporating real-time feedback and positive recognition into your organization’s culture can make a substantial difference in staff morale and patient satisfaction. With the right approach and leadership support, organizations can streamline recognition processes and create a culture of celebration.


About Northeast Valley Health Corporation (NEVHC):

NEVHC has 18 health centers in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys and serves the uninsured and the medically underserved patients with limited financial resources. More than 81,000 patients receive medical, dental and behavioral health care at their health centers every year. NEVHC is one of the nation’s largest community health centers.

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