44 Years of Person-Centered Care: The Power of Planetree to Transform Organizations

December 12, 2022

Enloe Medical Center’s transformation to person-centered care has made it the first choice for patients in its Northern California region after a series of crises damaged its reputation.

// By Jane Weber Brubaker //

Jane Weber BrubakerIf we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it a thousand times: Health care is complex, dysfunctional, and slow to change. But one person can still make a difference.

For Angelica Thieriot, it took a horrific experience as patient in a U.S. hospital in 1978 for her to imagine how different things could be if patients came first. Long before the term “patient experience” became a thing, Thieriot, a native of Argentina, took it upon herself to change things for the better in the U.S.

Today, the nonprofit organization she founded, Planetree International, partners with 800 health care organizations in 35 countries to instill principles of person-centered care at all levels. In the U.S., divisions of Atrium Health, Banner Health, Johns Hopkins, NewYork-Presbyterian, and others have attained Planetree Gold Certification, demonstrating their commitment to person-centered care.

Marcia Nelson, MD, chief medical officer, Enloe Medical Center

Marcia Nelson, MD, chief medical officer, Enloe Medical Center

Enloe Medical Center in Chico, California has achieved an even higher level of recognition — Gold Certification with Distinction. “We’ve done research on the cultural transformation that we’ve had,” says Dr. Marcia Nelson, chief medical officer at Enloe. “We partnered with one of the professors [at California State University, Chico], who has been observing our progress for over a decade.”

The story of Enloe Medical Center is one of hard work and how one regional hospital put the Planetree model into full effect to transform its culture.

Read on to learn how Enloe Medical Center used Planetree’s framework to transform its approach to patients, families, staff, and the community at large, and became the provider of choice in its primary and secondary markets.


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