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    New C-suite position to watch: Chief experience officers


    As payers tie more reimbursement to patient satisfaction scores and demonstrated outcomes, and as patients are more informed about the choices they can make, health systems are increasingly developing new ways to improve performance. Some of these methods include the creation of new executive roles aimed at ensuring patients and caregivers have the tools they need for success.

    One such role is chief population health officer (CPHO), driven primarily by a movement from fee-for-service to value-based reimbursements. CPHOs and another newer role, data scientist, identify data and trends to support improved outcomes and processes.

    These roles support a larger executive trend: chief experience officer (CXO), which is driven by the desire to improve the larger patient experience—a combination of excellence in clinical care and patient perception—and the experience of caregivers.

    Bridget Duffy, MD, chief medical officer of Vocera, which provides secure communication platforms to healthcare organizations, served as the nation’s first chief experience officer at the Cleveland Clinic from June 2007 to July 2009. She says the creation of the CXO role follows the historically reactive nature of the industry. Chief quality officer roles, for example, weren’t created until after adverse events were noted. Likewise, chief experience officer roles didn’t really take hold until after the government mandated higher patient satisfaction and quality, and tied reimbursement to it.

    Before Duffy took on the role of CXO at the Cleveland Clinic, she told leadership that it had to be willing to address fundamental problems with the culture and structure of the organization. Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores were between 40% and 60%, and people came to the Cleveland Clinic for its reputation of clinical excellence while tolerating the poor service that accompanied it, Duffy says. So, she spent nearly three years working with staff to repair broken trust and relationships between physicians and nurses and addressing caregiver burnout.

    “Instead of taking on 100 things, organizations should just focus on culture, communication and fostering trusted relationships,” she says. “The ones that have moved the scores are the ones that have focused first and foremost on culture and leadership.”

    Next: Addressing a flawed system


    Rachael Zimlich, RN
    Ms Zimlich is a freelance writer in Cleveland, Ohio. She writes regularly for Contemporary Pediatrics, Managed Healthcare Executive, and ...


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