Demystifying Medicine One Month at a Time

Tag: leadership

Push or Pull?

Chances are if you’ve never been admitted to a hospital, you know someone that has.  If that admission was unplanned, you likely waited a long time in the ER before you or your friend/loved one was transported up to the hospital floor.

If hotels ran like hospitals, they’d run themselves out of business.  Imagine the desk clerk, instead of giving you your room key (swipe card?), telling you, “I’m sure your room will be ready in the next 2-4 hours, or at change of shift, Mr. and Mrs. Cunningham…”

What is it about hospitals and all this waiting?

For one thing, hotels have the tremendous advantage of their customers planning their departure dates.  All the hotel has to do is enforce a “checkout time,” after which a guest is threatened with paying for another day’s stay–voila!–let the march of checker-outers begin!

Hospitals wish they could do the same thing, but there are major differences.  The main difference is that you and I aren’t paying directly for the hospital bed–insurance is.  So there’s no personal incentive to get out quickly.

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A classmate of mine was recently given a job title I’d never heard of:  CXO.

He’s been made the Chief Experience Officer at a large Midwestern medical center–one of the ones that’s been touted in the health care reform debate as a paragon of effective care delivered in an efficient and [somewhat] cost-conscious manner.

I’d seen the announcement about his promotion, and didn’t really understand what it meant. So I contacted him, and this is what he emailed back:

I was appointed to this role in July.  I report to the CEO.  We have the highest level commitment to patient experience.  I get all of the resources I need.  [The CEO] has made employee satisfaction / engagement, and patient experience the two highest institutional priorities.  These two issues are linked completely.  Can’t have satisfied patients without satisfied employees!

I am partnered with the Executive Chief Nursing Officer and together we run the office of patient experience.  ~65 employees.  We realized that it is really about the Docs and nurses.  [She] and I have adopted our Chief Human Resources person as the third wheel of patient experience – because of the engagement / satisfaction component.  Our department includes a variety of programs.  We have an executive director who runs the operations.  As CXO I sit on the executive team and too many committees to name.

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