Her title may be chief patient experience officer, but Dr. Shannon Connor Phillips oversees much more at Intermountain Healthcare.
Phillips not only leads the patient experience agenda, but safety and quality priorities in this first-of-its-kind role for the Salt Lake City-based health system.
Phillips, who joined Intermountain last year, said the broad responsibilities make sense.
"(My role) is truly about delivering an extraordinary experience for patients, and you can't do that without (considering) safety and quality," she said.
Phillips is part of a small, but growing group of executives charged with understanding the totality of things that impact the patient experience. It's a subtle, yet substantial evolution. Providers now recognize that patient experience is more than just whether or not care met the patients' expectations—often called patient satisfaction—but it's also closely tied to an organization's safety and quality performance.
"To say patient experience and just be thinking about patient satisfaction is not right, and I think that's why there is a lot of transition with the role right now. The definition of patient experience has changed," said Dr. John Bonamo, chief medical and quality officer of RWJBarnabas Health. Like Phillips, he oversees the trifecta of areas that most influence the patient experience—safety, quality and satisfaction.
Chief experience officers first popped up in healthcare roughly 10 years ago. The role has only increased in strategic importance for healthcare organizations since implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which tied patient satisfaction scores to reimbursement.