Fred M. Lee

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Fred M. Lee, Author

IN MEMORIAM: Author, Lecturer, and Guiding Light 08/08/1939 - 03/26/2017 It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Fred Lee who will occupy a permanent place in American Healthcare's Pantheon of Patient Loyalty, Patient Experience, and Compassion by caregivers. Fred, the best-selling author of IF DISNEY RAN YOUR HOSPITAL: 9 1/2 Things You Would Do Differently, passed away on Sunday evening, March 26, 2017 of complications from neuro-surgery due to glioblastoma.



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Fred Lee had the enviable distinction of having been both a senior vice president of one of the largest medical centers in the United States and a cast member at Disney University. Disney recruited him because of his expertise in helping hospitals achieve a culture that inspires compassion and elicits both patient and employee loyalty. At Disney, he helped adapt and facilitate Disney’s Approach to Quality Service for the Healthcare Industry. Using his insider’s experience and his keen eye for cultural comparisons, he wrote his best-selling book and shared his insights with healthcare groups all over the country and around the world.

His seminars were dynamic, inspiring, and immensely practical. He motivated healthcare managers by talking their language, using real-life hospital examples, and having walked in their shoes. His lectures were captured during a two-day live seminar and are available on DVD at www.SecondRiverHealthcare.com

Fred won the 2005 ACHE James A. Hamilton healthcare book of the year award with his book, If Disney Ran Your Hospital: 9½ Things You Would Do Differently, which has sold over 250,000 copies in English and almost 250,000 copies in Dutch, Portuguese, and Korean. A bestseller, the book is being translated into Mandarin Chinese expecting to be released in China in 2017.

From the time Fred wrote his book in 2004, he traveled with his wife and business partner, Aura (a former director of nursing in Orlando, Florida), lecturing across the United States, Australia, Belgium, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, England, and The Netherlands, sharing his passion and teaching concepts of patient loyalty, the patient experience, and compassion of caregivers. 

Fred began his healthcare career at Shawnee Mission Medical Center in Shawnee Mission, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City. During his five years there as vice president for marketing and development, he won several national awards for innovative approaches to patient satisfaction and loyalty. In 1990 he became a trained Baldrige examiner and a consultant in total quality management, instructing hospital facilitators in the Deming PDCA process improvement cycle. He was then invited to be a senior vice president at Florida Hospital in Orlando, where he developed a nationally acclaimed guest relations program.

When Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, won the national Malcolm Baldrige Award, their Chief Nursing Officer credits Fred Lee’s teachings with finally giving their managers a new approach to patient perceptions that brought them breakthrough scores that put them over the top for the Baldrige Award.

In April 2015, Fred was appointed to the “My VA Advisory Committee” by Robert A. McDonald, Secretary of Veterans Affairs of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This was a prestigious appointment that let Fred share his passion with some of the leading healthcare leaders in the country.

Although he was born in Kunming, China, spoke Mandarin Chinese, and his surname was Lee, he was not Chinese. His parents were Caucasian American missionaries who were also born in China to missionary parents.

Fred’s greatest desire was for healthcare leaders and caregivers to instill these concepts for future generations. He will occupy a permanent place in American Healthcare’s Pantheon of Patient Loyalty, Patient Experience, and Compassion by caregivers.

Fred Lee passed away on Sunday evening, March 26, 2017, of complications from neurosurgery due to glioblastoma.

Fred M. Lee
Author, Lecturer, and Guiding Light
08/08/1939 to 03/26/2017
He will truly be missed.

Please visit www.PatientLoyalty.com if you wish to send a comment or memory of Fred.

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 Highlights of his career include:

  • 2015, the newly appointed Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Robert McDonald has tapped Fred Lee to serve on an external advisory board to help revitalize the nation’s veteran and family healthcare experience
  • Became a trained facilitator for the Baldrige Award self-assessment process
  • Author of the all-time best selling healthcare leadership book If Disney Ran Your Hospital: 9 ½ Things You Would Differently
  • Multiple international speaking tours to the Netherlands, Europe and Australia
  • One of the featured speakers at a TEDx conference in Mastricht, Netherlands, on innovative models in healthcare available on YouTube
  • Joined Dick Ireland in the Snowmass Institute to teach a 40-hour course in Healthcare Communications that was the leading source of education for healthcare communicators in the 1980s.
  • Authored a handbook for healthcare service line management which was purchased and used in over 300 hospitals.
  • Asked by the American Management Association’s Healthcare Division to develop and teach their first certificate course for healthcare managers in service line marketing.
  • Invited by Disney University to help develop and facilitate a health-care version of the 3-day seminar, "Disney’s Approach to Quality Service" and "Customer Loyalty".

Comments from presentations:

"Presentation held my attention for the entire day” - Flint, MI

"Great! I am very much inspired" - The Netherlands

"The best conference I have attended. Thank you for bringing a national speaker to our state conference" - Columbus, OH

"I did not want him to stop , I could have listened to him all day.” WOW did we learn a lot.  He put into words what we could not get across to our staff about compassion. I liked him from the m inute he started to talk.  He is a great teacher. He was right for our team at this time. He really understands our work. Mr Lee can help us move to the next level." - Davis, CA

"Inspired, wish he could have had more time." - Panama City, FL

"Fred Lee made me laugh, cry, and think!" - Sayre, PA

"Dynamic. Powerful. Enthusiastic presentation and powerful message!" - Melbourne, Australia

For additional information regarding this speaker, please call (406) 586-8775.


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