Center for Patient Experience Innovation

Patient Experience

The mission of the Akron Children’s Hospital Center for Patient Experience Innovation is to transform the emotional and cognitive journey of patients and their families, supporting a culture of legendary service and integrating efforts across the organization to design and deliver distinctive experiences that consistently exceed expectations.

Established in 2011, the center is unique in the world as a design-led research initiative that aims to positively transform every aspect of the pediatric patient and family experience in a systematic, reliable and sustainable way.

By evaluating the effects of its innovations, our center is working to build a broad base of knowledge and expertise that can be applied reliably in other hospitals and healthcare systems. Dr. Stefan Agamanolis, an internationally-recognized researcher in design innovation and digital media technology, leads the initiative.

What is Patient Experience?

The term "patient experience" refers to many aspects of a hospital stay, office visit or other interaction with a healthcare system, including: 

It also includes many other measures that decrease anxiety, increase comfort, and bolster confidence and satisfaction in the services patients and families receive. These kinds of elements may also improve health outcomes.

Patient Experience

Experience Design in Healthcare

Design as a domain has progressed well beyond the traditional fields of architecture and interior decoration that the term invokes. Design methods are being applied successfully in a broader array of interdisciplinary challenges, on the level of services, interactions, and experiences.

These methods are perhaps most advanced in the retail and hospitality sectors, as evidenced by the richly crafted customer experiences found in Disney theme parks, Las Vegas casinos, gourmet restaurants, and high-end boutiques.

The same depth of thinking and coordination around customer interactions and experiences in healthcare institutions has been lacking. In a 2007 McKinsey survey, commercially-insured consumers rated “patient experience” as the most important factor influencing how they choose hospitals, receiving a score roughly double that of location, hospital reputation or physician recommendation.

Yet, states McKinsey, “Few hospitals have the marketing skills, the organizational structure or the operating approach needed to deliver a distinctive experience in the way that retailing and hospitality companies do.”

Akron Children's has always been a leader in offering our patients and families a high quality experience. The Center for Patient Experience Innovation was formed to further deepen this excellence and establish Akron Children's as an international authority in healthcare experience design.

Activities of the Center

The center engages in projects of varying size and scope. For example, the center is addressing the design of physical spaces and future architecture to reduce environmental stressors and be more supportive of healing.

The center is also tackling more finely-detailed challenges like the flow and handling of parent interactions in the context of difficult diagnoses, potentially resulting in reduced anxiety, more confident decision-making, less second-guessing, improved information retention, and an improved sense of being fully informed.

In addition, the center coordinates the organization-wide patient experience strategy and acts as a hub for relevant information and advice, amplifying the creativity and intuition that exists already throughout Akron Children’s.

The center espouses the principles of human-centered participatory design and community engagement in which current and future users of services are richly involved throughout the design process of those services.

We proactively include a diverse cross section of patients and parents from the region as services and patient experience elements are developed or modified. This strategy promotes a sense of ownership in the hospital by those in the community.

For more information, contact us at


Stefan Agamanolis, PhD

Senior Director, Patient Experience;
Associate Director, Rebecca D. Considine Research Institute

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