A new kind of CEO (time to add an extra E)


In health care, there is almost no hotter topic than "engagement v. experience" — as in patient engagement and patient experience.

It's turning into an epic "which comes first" discussion.

A recent blog post by Frank Hone, Chief Engagement Officer at employee health and well-being consultancy Healthcentric Partners, makes a case for what makes a great CEO (as in Chief Engagement Officer).

The role would incorporate aspects of business discipline, strategic process and consumer marketing. … It has to embrace the process of behavior change, disrupt inertia and reinforce healthy habits.

Hone maps out seven key ingredients to an effective "CEO" (the engagement kind) — from strategic intent to targeted messaging to measurement to continuous improvement. All of these are right on, and in the right order (please see Frank's blog for more).

The real question is engagement or experience — which is the end goal?

Both, of course.

Except that patient engagement is a means toward improving the overall patient experience. 

As health systems gravitate toward meeting the Triple Aim, two of the legs — quality and cost — have received most of the attention and resources. Only recently has patient experience been a central focus, but mostly around raising HCAPS scores. 

And therein lies the problem — HCAPS scores do not tell the whole patient experience story. And by "teaching to the test," health systems are missing the biggest opportunities to reinvent and reimagine the patient experience placing patients and families at the center of the equation.

Engaged patients — and the patients' families! — are vital to an improved patient experience. Engagement comes in many flavors, but ultimately it must be a partnership between caregiver, patient and the patient's own support system.

So let's add another E and create a true CEEO — Chief Engagement & Experience Officer — who can be the driver, facilitator and champion of this cause.