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Why Hospital CFOs Should Collaborate with Hospital CXOs

By Thomas Gole, DO, FAAFP18 Nov 2015

patient-satisfactionDeciding which hospital to use is a big decision for patients. And thanks to the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS), patients have more information than ever at their fingertips to assess where they’ll receive medical treatment.

A bad patient experience not only travels by word-of-mouth and online these days, it also affects rankings on the HCAHPS and the Medicare and Medicaid Services Hospital Value-Based Purchasing program, which pays participating hospitals on quality not quantity of care.

For hospital CFOs, these patients’ decisions can make a difference when it comes to growth and market share. And CFOs can use their hospital’s rankings on the HCAHPS to negotiate things like contracts.

How can you ensure patient satisfaction at your facility?

Enter the Chief Experience Officer, or CXO. It is the CXO’s job to make sure the patient is satisfied with his or her experience, and if he or she is not, implement ways to improve future patient experiences.

“The CXO's relationship with the CFO will be a significant point of focus here, especially as value-based purchasing begins to have a real impact on the bottom line,” notes Healthcare Finance.

This will require a balancing act between the CFO and CXO. The CXO, for example needs a business plan for an overall patient experience initiative that reflects revenue and market share growth. The CFO, meanwhile, will need to think outside of the traditional financial box and consider patient experience ideas that may not have been thought of before.

The CXO should work closely with other members of the C-suite because they should also focus on patient experience.Their buy-in is essential to making the plan work at every level of patient care.

Simple Ways a CXO can Improve Patient Experience without Impacting Budget

A CXO, for example, can help ensure a patient who needs a follow up appointment with his or her primary care physician gets one in a timely manner. The CXO and patient experience team can focus efforts on “things like retraining staff about how they interacted with patients, and even keeping the cafeteria open more hours to make sure that the families of patients — especially parents of young children — didn't have to leave the premises to get something nourishing to eat,” noted Healthcare Finance.

By having a solid CXO-CFO relationship, a hospital can benefit both from improved patient experience and outcomes, but can also help ensure the financial health of the organization.

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