7 findings on leadership in patient experience — top priorities, challenges and more

Now more than ever, hospital leaders are focusing on patient experience as a main priority, according to a recently released report titled, "Experience Beyond Boundaries: The Next-Generation CXO."

The report, released in May by Vocera Communications, involved a survey completed by 207 director-level and above experience leaders, such as chief experience officers, in the U.S. and Canada, as well as interviews with more than 40 vice president-level and above experience executives.

Here are seven findings from this year's report.

1. Exactly half of the experience leaders report directly to their organization's president or CEO, "illustrating the continued importance of experience to overall health system strategy," according to the report.

2. Experience and nursing are also closely linked, as 17 percent of experience leaders report to the chief nurse executive, while just 5 percent report to the CMO. Additionally, 67 percent of experience leaders have a nursing degree, while just 7 percent boast a medical degree.

3. The majority of hospital experience leaders also oversee performance improvement (54 percent), quality improvement (53 percent) and compliments and complaints management (52 percent). "This signifies an understanding of the importance of driving alignment across improvement disciplines at the senior-most levels," according to the report.

4. The three top priorities for experience improvement in 2017 are:

  • Create/improve the experience culture (55 percent)
  • Improve patient experience scores (53 percent)
  • Improve physician and staff well-being and experience (43 percent)

"While experience leaders are often pushed by the C-suite to improve scores quickly, it is encouraging that leaders recognize the critical step of focusing on physician and staff well-being as foundational to improve the human experience in healthcare," the report reads.

5. The three biggest challenges with leading experience improvement are:

  • Driving accountability at all levels (25 percent)
  • Sustaining changes (18 percent)
  • Lack of staff or resources (15 percent)

6. Nearly half (48 percent) of clinical executives in the C-suite have some of their compensation tied to patient experience scores, and 41 percent of nonclinical C-suiters, like CEOs and CFOs, also have compensation hinging on patient experience.

7. The teams behind experience leaders are steadily growing — on average, experience leaders now have 31 people reporting to them, up from an average of 19 in 2015.

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