The ROI of Happiness 


Northwell Health: Design & Articulation of the new "Culture of C.A.R.E." for the entire organization

By Karissa Barcelo



In 2015, Northwell Health was in the initial stages of their rebranding program which challenged its leaders to think of how it could set itself apart in an increasingly competitive healthcare landscape. They could by delivering on their promise of excellence and consistency in patient experience. With a goal of reaching the 90th percentile in patient experience by 2019, Northwell Health’s Office of Patient and Customer Experience [OPCE] implemented a system-wide cultural transformation to redefine its commitment to higher expectations in care.


Headquarters: New York, USA

Sectors: Healthcare

Number of Employees: 61k+

Hospitals: 21



• To disseminate the Culture of C.A.R.E.[Connectedness, Awareness, Respect, and Empathy] throughout the organization to drive patient and customer experience
• To observe, measure, and assess patient-provider and patient-staff interactions for feedback and process improvement
• To reigniting the passion of providers and staff so they can drive innovation and create meaningful experiences for patients and customers
• To foster commitment to and advocacy of C.A.R.E from the top-down, including executive leadership, their managers, and their staffs

Top Largest Health Systems in the USA


Fortune Magazine's Top 100 Best Companies to Work For


DH Solution


ASSESS: Focus Groups, Site Tours, Interviews

Developing an understanding of the perceptions, current climate, and the obstacles to system-wide initiatives within Northwell Health gave us the tools to create a multi-faceted program for dissemination.

IMPLEMENT: A Custom-built Program
To drive its cultural transformation, our program included:

  • Creation and design of all-employee content in the form of a Culture Course, a core component of the employee development experience
  • Vision framework and design of interactive workshops for executive leadership across the organization
  • Design of Coach-the-Coach, which trains individual leaders on management and culture facilitation

Sven Gierlinger, Chief Experience Officer Northwell Health


“We can have the most beautiful facilities, well-functioning processes and a clean environment, but we will still fail. We must strengthen our culture and accountability to focus on empathy, customer service and communication across the entire organization.” – Sven Gierlinger, Chief Experience Officer





By creating and sustaining a Culture of C.A.R.E, Northwell Health has been able to refocus its staff to be more patient-and family-centric in its service promises. Prior to our collaborative rollout of the Culture of C.A.R.E program, employee engagement was at 45%. Two years later, it grew to 85%.


In 2020, Fortune Magazine ranked Northwell Health number 93 on its list! This is the first time the health system landed on the annual list. They were praised for their job satisfaction, innovation and initiatives focused on community health and outreach. Since 2020, Northwell's ranking on Fortune's list has continued to rise reaching 75th in 2022.  


Four Northwell Health hospitals are rated among the nation's best hospitals in US News & World Report’s 2021-22 Best Hospital rankings.


Related: Q&A: Sven Gierlinger, SVP & Chief Experience Officer at Northwell Health


Courtesy of Northwell Health




How does one of the largest U.S. healthcare systems improve its patient experience scores?

Through their company culture. Watch the video below.




Download the Northwell Health Case Study



Delivering Happiness helped us learn how to engage leadership with our culture. One of the ways we do that is through storytelling. One practice we didn't do at the beginning but are doing now is at every executive meeting with CEOs, VPs, we start the meeting with a patient story, video, or a letter so that we can remind ourselves who we are here to serve. It's a reminder that these are human beings we are impacting. It sets a different tone. 



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Canpa was facing challenges from declining profitability, a 30% employee turnover rate, and low company morale. After a DH Masterclass, they experienced record sales and the highest retention rate to date. Won 1st place in Turkey's 2018 Great Place to Work® Assessment.

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