How to hire an effective Patient Experience (PX) Officer

So, two nights ago, a pretty aggressive rain storm—the local weather people call it an ‘event’—was blowing through my little town.  My neighbor was traveling, and I noticed that the door on his deck was wide open.  I mentioned the open door to my wife and she suggested we might want to call the police.

She suggested we should walk over and see if the Taliban had taken over his house.  Being supportive, she offered to walk over with me.  Just before I popped my head into his family room, I looked over my shoulder only to discover only to discover that her definition of ‘we’ was very similar to a former president explain that “it depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is.”

She was not over my shoulder.  In fact, she was not within a hundred feet of my shoulder.  She had decided to hang back. Perhaps she was thinking that she would be closer to the phone in case she needed to call 911 if she saw my bullet-riddled body convulsing on the rain-soaked deck.

This type of thinking is probably why I am also the go-to-guy in my family for all things that have six or more legs.  Get Dad to do it—he’s expendable. 

So, enough about why I am the poster child for our local therapist.

A lot of people are thinking it would be cool to be on the reality show “Real Housewives of 7-Eleven.”

A lot of hospitals are considering hiring a patient experience (PX) officer.

So, if your hospital is among those considering hiring a PX, what should you be looking for?  If all you want is someone to manage/monitor HCAHPS, you know more about what skills that person should have than I.  I call that role a ‘px’—lower case officer.

However, if you happen to believe that patient experience begins before someone is admitted and lasts well after discharge then read on.  If you happen to think patient experience is not just limited to inpatients, but also includes outpatients, discharged patients, former patients, people with labs and therapy, and prospective patients then read on.

If you are still playing along, my contention is that when it comes to hiring a ‘PX’—upper case, and knowing what to do with a PX, pay more attention to the person’s knowledge of the ‘X’ and less to their knowledge of the ‘P’.  After all, the hospital is chocked-full of people that understand the P-side, the clinical-side.

What most hospitals need is someone who can help them with visioning a remarkable experience for every person every time on every device, not someone who can squeeze out the last decibel of noise on the floors.

Hospitals should look for someone who can ask the right questions, the questions that make everyone else uncomfortable.  Questions like:

  • What if every person could go from and to:

o   I need an appointment

o   I want to schedule an appointment online

o   I want an online appointment for today

  • Can patients pre-admit using their iPad
  • Can patients interact with their physicians online regarding their compliance with discharge orders
  • Can readmissions be reduced by recasting patient experience
  • Can patient experience play an active role in population health management

While that is not an exhaustive list of the types of questions a PX officer ought to be considering, it is a pretty good start.

One thought on “How to hire an effective Patient Experience (PX) Officer

  1. Hi Paul, nice article! I like the fact that you invite me and other readers to consider that “PX” goes beyond the four walls of a hospital and really includes the experience before, during and after. Right on!! I also agree that we need a holistic approach to the PX; too much weight on the clinical, diagnostic, medical, “fix-it” side is too compartmentalized.

    The one thing that I don’t necessarily equate is that the “P” side is equal to the “clinical.” In fact, when I saw the “P” and the “X” separated, I immediately thought of the P-side as the “human” side of the health care — “P” being the person, the human being who has the experience that we want to pay attention to, understand more fully and enhance/improve.

    With that, a simple yet provocative piece! 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s