As chief experience officer roles grow, healthcare still working out kinks - Emmi

December 04, 2015 — Blog Post

As chief experience officer roles grow, healthcare still working out kinks

Having spent about two decades in healthcare, I’m particularly interested lately in the rise of the chief experience officer, or CXO. Over the past five years, we’ve seen this role continue to grow and expand, brought on by the increased importance in things like Medicare star ratings and HCAHPS scores.

Of course, these metrics are vital for healthcare organizations’ clinical and financial outcomes—but I think “experience” goes far beyond these measurements, and the word “experience” itself indicates how broadly we need to think about these issues.

The emergence of the CXO role reminds me of what we saw 15 years ago with new C-level roles for quality and safety. Today, it’s hard to imagine not having people in charge of these crucial facets of care, but it took more than a decade of these people figuring out the challenges they faced, and are still facing.

From what I’ve seen, the role of CXO began by focusing on what those of us in healthcare know best—the episodic world. It’s easy to focus on acute, episodic moments, and I think healthcare organizations are doing an excellent job addressing those touchpoints. But I think it has to be a bigger story, there has to be a broader focus.

That starts with placing more definition around the role itself. CXOs should become advocates for patients, or consumers, in this complex healthcare world. Broadly, this sounds great. But there’s more to the discussion than what the title “chief experience officer” implies.

For instance, whose experience is the focus? Should we be thinking about the patient? The consumer? The human? And when should the “experience” begin and end? And what does experience entail?

So there are a lot of questions still swarming around the role of CXO. And that’s to be expected as more and more healthcare organizations start employing people to lead “experience.” We’re still figuring out what’s included in that experience and what types of resources are necessary to improve experience. But something I think most CXOs agree on is the important role technology will play in attempting to address all these people, at all these touchpoints, across the care continuum.

This thought came through clearly in the comments from nearly 100 CXOs surveyed in the Experience Innovation Network’s (EIN) 2015 CXO report—the importance of appropriate technology. Many of those interviewed said that the right technology is essential to provide patients and families with the information, access and education that drive a better care experience.

That’s what Emmi provides—a way to tap the power of people, the power of that human connection. We help hardwire change. The broad business impact of a full-featured patient experience plan is moving from a one-sided conversation with patients to a more collaborative and transparent approach, reaching beyond the hospital’s walls into a holistic pre- and post-visit care continuum.

If you want to learn more about improving the patient experience, download our white paper. It covers the connections between various patient experience initiatives that, when taken as a whole, can help organizations improve both their mission and their margin.

Bottom line:

  • The chief experience officer role is still in a nascent phase.
  • Defining “experience” and who undergoes that experience is not easy, but should include the continuum of care and empower people to take action in their own care.
  • Technology, specifically patient engagement technology, can be an important piece of a broader experience strategy.
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