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Podcast 127: Improving the Patient Experience with Compassionate Communication in Medicine with Dr. Anthony Orsini

Mar 19, 2021


This week we welcome Dr. Anthony Orsini, chief of patient experience at Mednax, a practicing neonatal physician, and founder of The Orsini Way. Dr. Orsini shares what he has learned about delivering bad news through decades of patient-level research and personal experience. He and John talk about how better communication can improve the doctor-patient relationship, which in turn leads to better follow up, medication adherence, and clinical outcomes — all of which address the Triple Aim.  

In this episode

Anthony Orsini, D.O.

Dr. Anthony Orsini is a practicing physician, author and frequent speaker on the topic of compassionate communication in medicine. He is a Level II Medical Director at one of the largest Neonatal Intensive Care Units in the world. He also serves as Chief of Patient Experience and Palliative Care Liaison for his neonatal practice, and is a frequent keynote speaker at various medical and business events, including an upcoming TEDx presentation entitled-Improving Healthcare Starts with a Single Conversation.

In 2011, he founded The Orsini Way, a company that provides communication training to healthcare and business professionals. Dr. Orsini received his BS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Rutgers University and his D.O. in Medicine at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He has authored several papers on the topics of communication in medicine, enhancing the patient experience and delivering tragic news. His recently published book titled “It’s All in the Delivery – Improving Healthcare Starting With a Single Conversation” is now available on Amazon. His weekly podcast “Difficult Conversations – Lessons I Learned as an ICU Physician” hit the Top 100 podcasts on Apple in 2020.


John Marchica

John Marchica is a veteran health care strategist and CEO of Darwin Research Group, a health care market intelligence firm specializing in health care delivery systems. He’s a two-time health care entrepreneur, and his first company, FaxWatch, was listed twice on the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing American companies. John is the author of The Accountable Organization and has advised senior management on strategy and organizational change for more than a decade.

John did his undergraduate work in economics at Knox College, has an MBA and M.A. in public policy from the University of Chicago, and completed his Ph.D. coursework at The Dartmouth Institute. He is a faculty associate in the W.P. Carey School of Business and the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University, and is an active member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

2:39 – 2:49 Dr. Orsini: “I spent 10 years of researching the proper way of giving bad news to patients and families and then trying to figure out the best way of teaching that.”

2:56 – 3:07 Dr. Orsini: “I’ve taught, on a one-on-one basis, almost 10,000 doctors, physicians, [and] first responders, and then thousands of others in workshops.” 

3:31 – 3:40 Dr. Orsini: “Even more recently, I’ve been training a lot of business leaders and HR professionals in the business world on how to have those very difficult conversations.”

3:50 – 4:01 John: “Was there a seminal moment … when you really realized that things were bad, and this is something that needed to be addressed?”

6:28 – 6:37 Dr. Orsini: ”He had tears in his eyes, and he said to me, ‘Did you see what I just did?’ and I shook my head, and he said, ‘Don’t ever do that.’”

12:30 – 12:42 Dr. Orsini: “Patients who feel they have a relationship with their doctor and that learn how to connect through communication not only have better follow-up, better compliance with their medication, but have better outcomes.” 

16:07 – 16:16 Dr. Orsini: “If you look at malpractice … the single best predictor of whether you’re going to get sued or not is your communication skills. Period.”

17:00 – 17:06 Dr. Orsini: “Once you get good at it, you’d be surprised — all of a sudden it goes from being a task to being a skill.” 

20:20 – 20:25 John: “How does what you teach intersect with the Triple Aim?”

22:44 – 22:55 Dr. Orsini: “You’re helping the hospital, you’re helping your providers, and then we have all this data that show you that patient experience scores are related, are proportional, to clinical outcomes.”

25:21 – 25:33 John: “How do you balance, on the one hand, growing … a thriving business … and your day job?”

27:19 – 27:25 Dr. Orsini: “I can’t tell you how many doctors have come up to me and said, ‘If you ever need a new trainer, let me know.’” 

About Darwin Research Group

Darwin Research Group Inc. provides advanced market intelligence and in-depth customer insights to health care executives, with a strategic focus on health care delivery systems and the global shift toward value-based care. Darwin’s client list includes forward-thinking biopharmaceutical and medical device companies, as well as health care providers, private equity, and venture capital firms. The company was founded in 2010 as Darwin Advisory Partners, LLC and is headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz. with a satellite office in Princeton, N.J.


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