Does a Doctor need to be your Hospital’s Chief Experience Officer?
When people think of “healthcare,” they usually think of “doctors.” So why are physicians among the least likely to be leading the charge to improve the patient experience at hospitals throughout the USA?
That’s exactly what we found in our recent study, done in partnership with The Beryl Institute. We discovered that only 3% of our 1,000+ survey respondents said that they thought it important that a physician have the primary responsibility for addressing Patient Experience (PX). Ironically, in the same survey, we heard that almost one in three executives (29%) believe that lack of support from physicians is a problem in improving PX, up from 25% in 2011 when we last conducted a similar survey.
If PX improvement is not being led by physicians, who is in charge?
The most frequent answer is that responsibility for PX improvement is vested with a committee or work group (26%), which is likely reporting to the CEO or COO. Of course, these committees may include physician involvement. Alternatively, if the hospital has established a single person to centralize action and accountability, in most cases this person is NOT a physician. More likely, the person with this responsibility is a Chief Nursing Officer (14%) or a Quality leader (22%), not the Chief Medical Officer (1%).
While physician communication is key to a positive patient experience, other factors also affect the experience—and HCAHPS scores. These include communication with nurses, noise levels, and staff responsiveness. Perhaps hospital leaders feel that others besides physicians can fuel and foster improvements in these areas. Or perhaps doctors are too expensive to have them focus on this exclusively. Perhaps few doctors want the assignment.
What are your thoughts on this?