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Healthcare Experience Blog

What is the value in having a CXO?

Recently I assisted Jason Wolf, President of The Beryl Institute, in interviewing 14 patient experience leaders from across the country (plus one from across the pond!). We were interested in hearing about their journey in becoming a patient experience leader, their successes, and the struggles that they face in fulfilling their roles. From those interviews, we produced a new white paper entitled “The Chief Experience Officer—An Emerging and Critical Role.”

The most poignant question we asked was about the value of having a CXO in a hospital or other healthcare organization. Not surprisingly, virtually every person told us that having a dedicated role at the senior level reinforces the importance of providing a great patient experience.  If finances are important, then a CFO is important.  If human resources are important, a chief of human resources is needed.  Ergo, when it comes to patient experience.  If the organization says this is truly important (and strategic), shouldn’t there be a CXO (or equivalent)?

A CXO, working in concert with the CEO and other leaders, becomes the sparkplug in shifting the entire organization toward a “patient-centric culture.” As one of our respondents told us, “my job is to make others feel uncomfortable about how we’re doing things today.” A seat at the executive table allows the CXO to share in key resource and policy decisions, ensuring that the customer actually has a voice in such key deliberations. It’s also a way to coordinate and drive change across departments and functions, from parking to IT.

Having a CXO who helps move the organization away from a traditional “clinical” or “physician-centered” culture toward a “patient-centric culture” has another obvious value. Money. Hospitals stand to gain or lose significant CMS reimbursements based on what patients say about their inpatient experiences. In time, the government and potentially other payers will be tracking and reporting patient survey results that reflect the wider experience a patient has, across the continuum of care.

People are paying for more of their own healthcare expenses, while concurrently the federal government is pushing value-based payment and greater transparency.  With these trends, more and more patients will begin to expect an outstanding experience, and tolerance for things like noise at night, poor discharge instructions, and unwieldy business practices will be publicized and will become competitive disadvantages.

Designating (and resourcing) a Chief Experience Officer may be just what’s needed!

To download a free copy of “The Chief Experience Officer—An Emerging and Critical Role,” click here and enter code CXO_CATALYST at checkout.

What is your community doing to promote healthy living?

Tennessee isn’t alone in the battle with a poor health epidemic. Nationally, we fail at eating correctly and exercising the recommended amount. Any bit of tobacco usage is too much.

In Tennessee, we’re fortunate enough to have The Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness (Healthier Tennessee) to lead citizens through the process of improving their lifestyles. In the 2013 Awareness and Engagement Study Among Tennesseans that we conducted for Healthier Tennessee, we found out that only 3% of residents are engaging in behaviors that are considered healthy. This means that only 3% of Tennesseans are eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day, exercising five times a week for at least 30 minutes at a time, and refraining from tobacco usage.

To combat residents’ unhealthy lifestyles, Healthier Tennessee launched a campaign that integrates multiple strategies to try and encourage Tennesseans to eat better, start exercising, and quit using tobacco.

“Drastic changes in diet and physical activity are usually overwhelming and hard for people to maintain,” Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness CEO Rick Johnson told me. “But making small, simple changes in your daily routine can, over time, add up to a big health difference. Changing your day a little can eventually change your life a lot.”

One initiative that Healthier Tennessee is using is called “Small Starts.” Their website lists more than 50 small things people can do daily, or weekly, to get into healthier habits. Things like walking around while talking on the phone, swapping out one sugary drink a day for a glass of water, or making a list of things you can do to distract yourself when you get a craving for tobacco are all little steps that will hopefully lead to bigger changes. In addition to Small Starts, Healthier Tennessee produced a television commercial

that has run statewide to promote the idea of starting now—not waiting!

The initiative is reaching out to Tennesseans in places where they live, work, worship, and learn – the places where effective tools and support can lead to positive behavior change. Strategies and tools that can be owned and implemented by individuals, workplaces, faith-based organizations and schools are being made available at no charge through the healthierTN.com website.

I encourage you to visit the Healthier Tennessee website to learn more about the cause and how all of us can take discrete steps to lead healthier lives. To download the white paper detailing more results of the study, click here.

Our personal brick walls

No doubt there are obstacles to eating well, exercising regularly and, for tobacco users, escaping its grip. As the 42nd unhealthiest state in the nation, Tennesseans are clearly not immune to these obstacles.  In our newly-released 2013 Awareness & Engagement Study Among Tennesseans, we heard people give their reasons, in their own words. In essence, they cited their personal “brick walls.”

Time was the most widely cited obstacle for not exercising regularly or enough. Residents consider themselves too busy with work, children, school and/or extracurricular responsibilities to put in the recommended 30 minutes a day of vigorous physical activity, five days a week.

A surprising number of respondents, 12%, were brutally honest with us and said that they are “lazy” and lack the motivation to get active.  We heard other reasons, as well, including the cost/location of a gym and not wanting to exercise outdoors in weather that’s either too hot or too cold.

When we asked about the barriers to eating better, respondents reported that the cost of a healthy diet was just too high. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats, particularly organic ones, are more expensive than canned or frozen options. They also can take more time to prepare.  As we all recognize, more time and effort is required to go to the grocery, buy healthy food and then cook it than it is to just cruise through a drive-thru. Other citizens simply said that they don’t have the motivation or desire to eat better.

Whether people’s individual brick walls are time, motivation, or cost, they inhibit the chances of living a healthier and often longer life.  One where the chances of getting heart disease, diabetes, and depression are reduced, according to sources I read.

What do you think? Is improving your overall well-being worth getting off the couch and going for a 30-minute walk? Is it worth spending a couple extra dollars on fresh salad ingredients, and putting the cookies back on the shelf? Is it worth staying up 10 minutes later at night to make your lunch for the next day so you don’t end up eating a fast food lunch?

Obstacles are what we’re up against.  We all have them. As the recent group of Olympians showed us over and over, obstacles can be overcome.  Let’s take a cue from them. Start small, stay consistently focused, and overcome the obstacles that hold us back.

To download a free copy of the 2013 Awareness and Engagement Study among Tennesseans, click here.

Do people know what to do to stay healthy?

Yes.

Recent statewide research we conducted for The Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness showed us that Tennessee residents do, for the most part, understand and recognize healthy habits.

Of the 1,200 people that we surveyed, 93% knew that exercising regularly is important for health, and 92% agreed that the kinds and quantities of foods you eat affects health. Overall, 77% of citizens know that they should be getting five servings of fruits and vegetables daily, exercising regularly and staying away from tobacco. The results made it apparent that education about the right things to do is not a big issue.

But while Tennesseans may know what to do to stay healthy, a staggering percentage are not taking the steps necessary to lead a balanced life. 43% of Tennesseans are exercising two days a week or less, and more than half (62%) are eating two or fewer servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Almost 20% are using tobacco, which is too high by any measure. What does all that add up to?

Only 3% of respondents are eating correctly, exercising and refraining from tobacco usage. The major disconnect is between knowing and doing. Just because someone knows the right things to do, doesn’t necessarily mean that they are doing them.

The results of the study revealed perhaps a more difficult challenge than education: motivation. Encouraging and inspiring residents to make healthier food choices, exercise, and quit using tobacco are now the obstacles that The Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness is addressing.

The results of the study don’t just apply to Tennessee. They don’t just apply to a particular region of the country. Nationally, we fail at eating correctly and exercising the recommended amount. To read our newest white paper about the 2013 Awareness and Engagement Study Among Tennesseans, and see how it could be applied in your state, click here to download.

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