Growing up, I remember harboring a strong “Rockwellian” view of the practice of medicine. Doctors – all white coats and stethoscopes – spending long appointments talking to patients, uncovering needs, and connecting on both a clinical and personal level. Any casual observer of healthcare today – patients and providers alike – can probably agree that we’ve strayed a bit from this ideal as providers are spending more time dealing with issues outside of their relationships with patients.
This dynamic, and the desire to return to healthcare’s more interpersonal roots, has precipitated the rise of the Chief Experience Officer or “CXO” – an executive role tasked specifically with aligning quality, safety, performance, and satisfaction across provider organizations.
A new study by Vocera’s Experience Innovation Network division details some of key priorities of this critical position, specifically, a focus on patient access, technology, and unified experiences as enablers of a heightened experience for patients:
- 52% of respondents listed “Experience Improvement Initiatives” as a top experience priority for 2015 with “Access” being the top initiative listed.
o Our take: A patient’s experience is disproportionately affected by their first point of contact with a system – whether it be an inquiry into the call center, landing on a hospital website, or in person at the point of care. As such, disproportionate efforts should be made to ensure that all patient needs are adequately addressed at that point and that any need to “call back later” is substantially reduced.
- “Technology enablement to remove barriers and improve efficiency” is identified as a key strategy for shaping experience improvement.
o Our take: Hospitals have substantial abilities to align stakeholders and improve culture. But oftentimes to catalyze major shifts in processes and operations, they must turn to innovative technologies. A recent interview with Dr. Michael Nochomovitz – former president of physician services at University Hospitals in Cleveland – highlights how Kyruus’s software enabled the hospital’s substantial structural and organizational patient access initiatives.
- Creating “Systemness” is difficult but critical to achieving success in patient experience.
o Our take: Improving the patient experience in a single setting is hard enough. Doing it across every possible interaction point across the continuum of care is a daunting challenge. However, given the proliferation of access points into a system - and the growing “consumer-like” behaviors of patients– a unified experience will quickly become table stakes for any system hoping to compete. Such consistency relies in large part on integrated and unified data sources that are accessible across the system.
Ironically enough, if health systems are to compete in this new era of healthcare, they must focus on one of the most foundational elements of care delivery: a focus on the patient. We are as excited as anyone to see how this new cadre of Chief Experience Officers help to deliver on that mission.