Healthcare Experience Blog

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?

Do hospital executives really care about the Patient Experience?

In short, the answer is “yes.”  Or at least, that’s what our survey says.

In the largest study to date on this topic, conducted in partnership with The Beryl Institute, we found Patient Experience is at the very top of the list of priorities for American hospitals and health systems.  Interestingly, this parallels what HealthLeaders found in a separate study they did earlier this year.

In our State of Patient Experience Study, we heard from 1,072 respondents, representing 672 unique organizations.  Among all those executives, 70% of listed Patient Experience and Satisfaction as top priority for their organization.  Next in line was Quality and Patient Safety,at 63%.  Cost Management and Reduction, a widely-discussed topic these days, rounded out the list of the top three items.

These results echo what we heard when we did a similar study with American hospitals just two years ago.  In addition, today, almost eight in ten (81%) said their hospital has a formal structure in place for implementing patient experience initiatives. Also, since 2011, the number of organizations naming a specific individual as their Chief Experience Officer (CXO), or equivalent, has almost doubled.

So it seems that American hospitals and health systems are placing very high level of importance on experience at their facilities, even as they define and pursue this concept in different ways.

To get a free copy of the full report, click here.  And watch for additional blogs as I highlight other key findings from this important study.


Hospitals Moving Slowly on Key Strategies for the New Environment

What are hospitals doing – and not doing – when it comes to five strategies that have been widely parlayed at industry conferences and in the industry press?

We just found out via a nationwide survey of over 300 hospital executives that we conducted in partnership with ReviveHealth.  Results revealed the following about five strategies we tested:

  • 63% have a Wellness Program in place for the hospital’s own employees
  • 41% have a Clinical Integration strategy in the works
  • 29% have a strategy for dealing with the issue of Narrow Networks
  • 28% said they are pursuing direct contracts with employers
  • 27% are implementing some type of ACO or Population Health Strategy

Even with the most popular strategy, only about two-thirds (63%) of respondents told us they have a Wellness or Population Health Program with their OWN employees up and running.  Others (12%) are talking about this kind of program, another 11% are planning this but have taken no action yet, and 5% don’t have this on their radar.

A major buzz in healthcare right now is ACO and Population Health Strategies.

Yet, according to our survey, only 27% of the respondents indicated they currently have this type of strategy in the works.  Another 20% said they are talking, but haven’t done anything yet.  While the 27% number is an increase from last year, when it was 18%, it appears that many hospitals and systems are taking a “wait and see” and “learn from others” approach.

It will be interesting to see where this priority lands in the coming years as more and more hospitals implement the concepts as well as see the results of wellness programs with hospital employees.

To see the full set of survey results, click here.

Hospitals Reveal Priorities for Negotiating with Payors

With the buzz of healthcare reform and the changes it is bringing to the industry, there are only a few things that have stayed the same over the past year.  One of them is the priorities hospital leaders have when contracting with payors.

We surveyed over 300 hospital leaders in partnership with ReviveHealth to conclude our 7th annual National Payor Survey and quite a few results changed year over year.  But this wasn’t one of them.

According to the survey, the top three contracting priorities are:

  • Increase rates with your largest payor
  • Better language protection against denials
  • Increase rates with your 2nd and 3rd payors

This is the same as those indicated in 2012.

Another item that stayed the same year over year was the least important contracting priority. For the third year in a row it was:

  • Bundled payments for medical home, ACO, or other population health strategies.

This could be due to medical homes and ACOs still being a fairly new practice in the industry and many in the healthcare industry haven’t started down that path.  Or there could be other reasons as well, including a “wait and see” approach to learn from others first.

To see the full survey and results, click here.

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