Stephan said until organizations make it a priority to hire a chief consumer officer—or a similar position—"we won't really see a lot of advancement" in healthcare consumerism.
Peter Fine, CEO of Phoenix-based Banner Health, said his system doesn't have a chief consumer officer, but he's "taken the lead" on the not-for-profit's consumerism efforts. Banner has also recently added positions with consumer-focused responsibilities, including a chief marketing officer.
"All of these (roles) are an attempt to look at the organization with a different lens and find those opportunities in which our interaction with the consumer" could be better, Fine said.
Indeed, other CEOs said efforts to promote a more consumer-oriented business model isn't the responsibility of just one person but the entire organization. "It's a team effort," said Matt Aug, president of Cox Health Plans, a payer based in southwest Missouri with about 50,000 members. He said all employees think about consumerism, so they brainstorm about new products and solutions as a group.
At Keck Medicine of USC, an academic health system based in Los Angeles, retreats are held every year for all employees to talk about expectations from management and ways to improve customer service.
"Everyone on the team has to believe (consumerism) is an organizational priority," said Thomas Jackiewicz, CEO of Keck Medicine.
But in an already rapidly changing, high-stress environment, adding consumer-focused principles and ideals isn't always met with open arms by employees. Ochsner's Thomas said he's made it a priority to always tell his staff why changes are made. "Starting with the 'why' has helped us do a much better job communicating with our employees."