Here's why CMO Dr. Adedapo Odetoyinbo says his hospital's CEO posts her cellphone number in each patient room

In this special Speaker Series, Becker's Healthcare caught up with Adedapo Odetoyinbo, MD, CMO of Emory Johns Creek (Ga.) Hospital.

Dr. Odetoyinbo will speak on a panel during the Becker's Hospital Review 4th Annual Health IT + Revenue Cycle Conference that is titled "Diversity and Inclusion in Healthcare Leadership - New Ideas and Next Steps," at 9:00 a.m. Friday, Sept. 21. Learn more about the event and register to attend in Chicago.

Question: What is the No. 1 thing you wish you knew before taking a leadership post at your organization?

Dr. Adedapo Odetoyinbo: I took on the position of chief medical officer at my hospital two weeks before a full-scale EMR implementation. Even as a practicing clinician for several years at the same hospital, I grossly underestimated the impact this wholesale change would have on physician workflow. Through months of bridge-building and meetings with key frontline clinicians and leaders, I learned firsthand the importance of being proactive when it comes to physician buy-in and engagement. I also discovered that my most important stakeholders are not always the most vocal or even those with formal leadership titles.

Q: In the past 12 months, how have you adapted to new patient experience expectations in the age of consumerism?

AO: Meeting and exceeding expectations demands a high level of visibility and accessibility from hospital leadership. Frontline staff need to be empowered to escalate when necessary. Our CEO’s cellphone number and photo are posted in every patient’s room. Thankfully, the calls are few and far between, but when they do come, we are able to resolve issues swiftly and decisively. Otherwise, it takes weeks to months of back-end work to repair the damage done by a single, misguided tweet or photo that goes viral.

Q: What is one thing you've learned about your patient population that's really surprised you?

AO: I am really amazed at how fiercely loyal a community can be toward its local hospital. When things go wrong, they will correct and chastise you, but they will also come to your defense when it matters the most. That should really not be a surprise — after all, we all expect to have a high-functioning, patient-centered hospital close by to care for our friends and family in time of need.

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