The patient experience movement has never been about a title. As Rick Evans said in the July 29 cover story, it is much more than a position. It is a strategic imperative for organizations that want to transform healthcare. It is about creating ideal healthcare experiences with compassion, trust and respect, in addition to providing high quality, safe and efficient care. While some organizations think experience initiatives can be split or managed by other roles like a chief quality officer, the focus is distinctly different.
The question is, “What does it take to commit to improving patient, family and staff experience, and sustain that commitment?” For some hospitals, this mission is already so embedded in the culture that a dedicated chief experience officer may not be necessary because patient experience is owned by each employee at every level of the organization. Yet, these organizations are rare. Therefore, it is still necessary for most hospitals to have a dedicated leader with a laser focus. Even though everyone owns quality, few health systems, if any, would suggest eliminating the chief quality role.
That said, the role of the CXO has evolved. Having a dedicated leader with a title that reflects the mission is needed. If responsibilities are split, so is the focus. Whether we call this person a chief experience officer, a chief consumer officer or something else, hospitals and health systems need a leader whose primary responsibility is ensuring an ideal healthcare experience remains a top strategic priority for all. If more hospitals start eliminating dedicated experience-improvement roles, we will be wondering where the humanity in healthcare went.
Dr. Bridget Duffy
Chief medical officer
Experience Innovation Network