Who Owns the Patient Experience?

A recent Beryl Institute research brief asks this question- and what a great question it is! They write, “Where does the ultimate accountability for the patient experience rest? Although everyone in a healthcare facility has accountability for impacting the patient experience, there is a necessity for leadership and an assigned accountability to effectively drive this effort. If we are to influence and drive positive outcomes in our patient experience efforts, we need to focus not only on the what, but the who in terms of accountability for results.”

Out of the 200 member organizations they observed, a little of half had comprehensive plans pertaining to improving patient experience. Beryl found that organizations varied greatly with who was in charge of these efforts if any one person was appointed at all.

Similarly, Health Leaders Media’s researchers asked healthcare executives, “Who is primarily responsible for the patient experience?” The results are quite interesting: 24.5% of respondents said their CEO is primarily responsible, but the second runner-up was “no one” (20.5%), and of the 18% who chose “other,” many wrote in “everyone”.

Who is responsible at your practice or hospital? Is it clear cut like Cleveland Clinic, where there is not only an Office of Patient Experience but an appointed Chief Experience Officer? Is it managed by an already existing part of your administration? Or is it a vague idea your team knows is gaining steam but no one is ultimately responsible for?

We find it most effective when a person, department, or newly developed team within administration is held responsible for changing the organization’s culture and relaying accountability to every other employee within that organization. Whether it be in operations, marketing, strategic planning or a special division centered solely on patient experience, this higher answerability is essential for creating comprehensive solutions and patient experience improvement. Because ultimately, everyone is responsible for making sure the patient has the best possible experience, but the buck has to stop somewhere, or initiatives will be a passing phase and a cost to the practice instead of an investment.

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