The O’Neil Center

Advancing the science of patient and family engagement

Connecting the art and science of patient engagement

The O’Neil Center is the industry’s “think tank” for research and advancement of patient and family engagement. It focuses on translating patient engagement theory and research into more effective health care management by:

Leveraging empirical evidence to validate the relationship between engagement of patients and their families and the resulting outcomes and quality performance

Developing evidence-based tools and processes to help health care organizations drive more effective patient engagement strategies

Driving global industry thought leadership and best practices

Key milestones

Everything we do is in partnership with our clients. Click below to see some of our achievements.
If you’re interested in participating in our research efforts, please
get in touch with us.

  • 2014


    The O’Neil Center founded and named after GetWellNetwork founder and CEO Michael O’Neil, a patient and cancer survivor

  • 2015


    Published “Interactive Care Model: A Framework for More Fully Engaging People in Their Healthcare” in the Journal of Nursing Administration

  • 2016


    Published “Patient and Family Engagement Summit: Needed Changes in Clinical Practice” in a special edition of the Journal of Nursing Administration


    Published “Nurse Manager Competencies Supporting Patient Engagement” in a special edition of the Journal of Nursing Administration

  • 2017


    Completed Person Engagement Index™ (PEI) instrumentation study and officially launched instrument at The Beryl Institute’s annual Patient Experience Conference in Denver, Colo.

The O’Neil Center leadership

Dr. Karen Drenkard

Dr. Karen Drenkard is the SVP/chief clinical officer and chief nurse of The O’Neil Center. She brings the voice of nursing to patient engagement and the innovation of technology to nursing practice. She was the lead investigator in the development of the Interactive Care Model™—a process model for more effectively engaging patients and families—and participated in the development of the Person Engagement Index™, an instrument to measure a person’s capacity to be engaged in their care.

Dr. Ellen Swartwout

Dr. Ellen Swartwout is vice president of research & analytics at The O’Neil Center and spearheads all of its multi-site research initiatives. Her efforts include focusing on the voice of the patient in research activities to advance the science of person and family engagement interventions. Dr. Swartwout was also the principal investigator behind the Person Engagement Index™.

Clinical Advisory Council

The Clinical Advisory Council is an important component in the work of The O’Neil Center. The council develops standards, models, tools and research needs around patient engagement in an effort to advance the science of patient and family engagement. The Council is comprised of clinicians, nurses, physicians, pharmacists, nurse researchers and academics from the nation’s leading health care organizations and universities. Learn about our council members.

The Role of Nurse Executives in Patient Experience

A new paper produced by The Beryl Institute in conjunction with its Nurse Executive Council explores the role of nurse leadership and the impact and influence Nurse Executives can have in leading the fundamental practices and actions which drive experience success. Please use the following code to access a complimentary copy of the paper when checking out: 2019NURSEEXEC

Resource center

Download the 2018 O'Neil Center Annual Report


Download the JONA article on the Interactive Care Model (ICM)


Get the latest evidence from peer-reviewed journals


View best practices from patient engagement research


Download the NAM Discussion Paper and Framework


Download the Rehabilitation Patient and Family Engagement Literature Review


Access the article "Innovative Collaborative Partnerships to Conduct Multisite Research: Strategies for Success"

Read "Technology and the Future of Nursing — A Virtual Panel"

Built to be together

GetWellNetwork Solutions are built to complement each other and maximize outcomes


Validated tool for measuring a person’s capacity to engage


Entertainment and education tools that engage patients and empower providers


Digital patient rounding tool and surveys for any use case, in any setting

Contact Us

Contact us to learn how GetWellNetwork can help your organization build Precision Engagement.

Want to speak with us now? Give us a call at 240.482.3200