CXO survey: Physician leaders play increasingly important role in the patient experience

Physician engagement is a critical component to improving the patient experience, as they are the ones on the frontlines actively engaging with and delivering care to patients. Specifically, hospitals and health systems are taking greater measures to develop physician leaders as part of patient experience improvement efforts, according to Vocera's Experience Innovation Network 2015 CXO survey report, "The Evolving Role of the Healthcare Chief Experience Officer."

The report is based off of survey responses from 96 director-level and above experience leaders in the U.S. and Canada, as well as in-depth interviews with more than 30 vice president and above experience executives.

When asked how they would rate physician engagement in experience improvement efforts at their organizations, most respondents (46 percent) said "passive," 21 percent said "enthusiastic," 13 percent said "leading" and 4 percent said "obstructive."

Most respondents (29 percent) said a visible, respected physician leader is critical in experience improvement. Other important aspects of creating strong physician leadership in experience improvement, as indicated by respondents, are feedback and data (19 percent), aligned incentives (13 percent) and training and tools (12 percent). Additionally, survey respondents said physicians need to understand how a focusing on experience is valuable to broader care goals and that their active engagement is making an impact.

"Across the country, we're making progress toward the triple aim by better aligning patient centered philosophies, Lean methodology and fostering service cultures through training," said Tony Padilla, CEO of UCLA Health. "The best organizations are differentiating themselves by engaging patients, physicians and staff to improve clinical processes; and, as a result, improving quality, experience and cost outcomes."

In the future, experience priorities will be increasingly influenced by consumerism, according to the report. As more people gain health insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and new providers offer convenient care through telehealth services, retail health clinics and at-home visits, patients are seeing an increasingly wider array of choices in their healthcare. Experience leaders must respond by differentiating their organizations with consumer-focused service, according to the report.

Part of this differentiation includes improving data transparency. According to the report, patients are more actively seeking information regarding the cost and quality of needed health services, in addition to the kind of experience they will have. Another aspect is eliminating organizational silos that lead to disjointed care and negatively impact the patient experience.

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