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The Value of Being a Specialty Hospital

An Interview with Louis A. Shapiro, President and Chief Executive Officer, Hospital for Special Surgery

Leaders Magazine—December 28, 2011

What makes Hospital for Special Surgery so special?

We’re an academic medical center, which means that we not only care for patients but also teach and do research; we only take care of patients with musculoskeletal related issues; and we do more of what we do than any other institution in the world.

The juxtaposition of those three characteristics creates an obligation to be the best in the world at what we do. That motivation to be extraordinary drives our culture of excellence and continuous improvement, and drives us to have leading outcomes across virtually every measure of performance.


When you’re the best at what you do, how do you avoid becoming complacent?

I tell new employees that my expectation of them is that they wake up every day excited to come to work and give 110 percent as individuals, and as members of a team. If they take a day off from doing that, we begin to fail in our obligation to be the best at what we do.

I go on to say that it’s our collective responsibility to create the environment that allows all 3,500 of our employees to feel that way. Our strategic plan contains 12 strategic priorities, including developing a fully engaged workforce; elevating quality to the highest possible level; and providing a patient experience that is unsurpassed. So no matter how much we have already accomplished, we look to lock in that level of performance and then find what we can do next to take it to the next level. Our management systems, evaluation systems, communication systems, and compensation approaches all have that culture embedded in them.

For 12 consecutive quarters, we have been in the 99th percentile for the “likelihood to recommend” question on our patient satisfaction survey, and in any industry that serves customers, “likelihood to recommend” is viewed as the most important indicator of satisfaction and loyalty. When you add our patient satisfaction indicators together, there is likely no hospital in the country that is a better performer in patient satisfaction than we are. But we are still focused on continuous improvement in everything we do. So there is no risk of complacency.•

Read the full interview at leadersmag.com.

Click Here to Download a PDF of An Interview with Louis A. Shapiro, President and Chief Executive Officer, Hospital for Special Surgery



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