Patient Experience Management: Who is your Chief Patient Officer?

(This column is not outsourced to Mexico.)

How many chiefs can you name? C-Levels, not Indians. I found these–COO, CIO, CTO, CMO, CMIO, CEO, CAO, CFO, Chief Purchasing Officer, Chief Network Officer, Chief Engineering Officer, Chief Benefits Officer, Chief Development Officer, Chief Brand Officer, Chief Staff Officer, Chief Health Officer, Chief Legal Officer, Chief Quality Officer.

Besides who gets the corner office, these titles demonstrate a firm’s commitment to those areas of their business, and these positions provide that business sector visibility all the way to the top of the firm. There’s a certain cachet that comes from having your sector of the business headed by a C-Level. Those are the ‘in’ jobs, the jobs to which or to whit one is supposed to aspire. You never see anyone clambering for a B-Level position. B-Level is the repository for all non C-Level jobs.

Remember Thanksgiving dinner when you were a child—apologies to those of who aren’t from the colonies. Anyway, if yours was anything like mine, there were two tables, the nice dining room table for the adults, and the smaller card table for the children, the B-Level guests.

So what does this have to do with patient care? You tell me. Let’s go from the premise that the C-Level positions are an accurate reflection of you firm’s focus. Why are we in business? If you go from the premise it must be because of finance, marketing, IT, Purchasing, or any of a dozen other things. The only thing missing in this view of the firm is the patient. The only entity without a seat at the grownup’s table is the person in the firm responsible for the patient. It seems to me a firm’s very existence, it’s raison d’être, is the patient. If that’s true, when do they get to eat with the grownups?

McKinsey published a study conducted with 1,000 CEOs and COOs to rank their top 5 initiatives over the next five years.  Ninety percent of them ranked Patient Experience Management as either their first or second priority.  The punch line of the study was that they did not know who in their organization “owned” the patient.  How is that for leadership?

If they don’t own the patient, I am willing to bet the patient owns them. If that is the case, Social CRM, S-CRM, will not be doing these executives any favors.


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