CXO survey finds many physicians remain on sidelines

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 - Doctor and patient

Healthcare systems increasingly embrace the idea of a chief experience officer (CXO) to pilot improvement efforts in their hospitals, but many physicians are not at the vanguard of change, survey results showed. Most respondents saw physicians as passive participants in the process.

The Experience Innovation Network released a research report that included responses from a poll of health executives at the director level or higher to assess the changing role of CXOs. The study also included interviews with 30 respondents with titles of vice president or higher. All respondents had been invited to participate in the survey.

Few of the experience leaders held medical degrees. Only 7 percent had an MD and 23 percent a nursing degree. That contrasted with 34 percent with MBAs, 19 percent with a marketing or finance background and 16 percent from industry.

Physicians in experience leadership roles had higher salaries than their peers, though, at an average of $225,000 compared with $167,000 for experience leaders as a whole.  

More than 80 percent reported that their institution had fully implemented or was in the process of implementing programs to engage physicians and nursing staff in improvement best practices. Yet less than one third had tied physician compensation to experience metrics and another third were in the process of doing so. Less than half had fully implemented or were in the process of similar processes for nurses’ compensation.

Eight percent listed physician engagement as a top priority but many rated physician engagement as stuck in neutral. Only 13 percent considered physicians leading experience improvement efforts with another 21 percent terming their physicians as enthusiastic. The majority—46 percent—rated physician engagement as passive and 4 percent saw physicians as obstructive.

Almost one third of respondents identified having a respected physician leader visibly on board with experience improvement as key to engaging physicians in the process. They also selected feedback and data and aligned incentives as helpful.

Experience Innovation Network is part of Vocera Communications. The network released results from its 2015 Chief Experience Officer survey at a roundtable on May 6 and 7 in San Francisco.