What Is Your Organization’s Approach to Patient Experience?

Updated: Sep 12

By Paul Gallese, PT, MBA

The best experience for a patient is to receive effective treatment without harm, and then to go home feeling better. In an effort to achieve this obviously important patient safety and quality goal more reliably, hospitals began hiring the first “chief patient experience officers”, or CXOs, about 10 years ago.

Now, CXOs appear somewhat to be victims of their own success, with Modern Healthcare reporting a slight decrease in demand for these executives. In “Use of CXO role fades as other leaders take on responsibilities,” Maria Castellucci (2019) writes that the role is evolving not because patient experience is less important – quite the opposite. Rather, responsibility for improving experience is becoming more integrated across organizations because expectations about what is required to impact patient experience have changed.

A scan of “30 hospital and health system CXOs to know” (Murphy, 2018) published by Becker’s Hospital Review shows these executives having diverse responsibilities ranging from improving patient satisfaction, managing patient-centered care initiatives and enhancing hospitality to achieving better performance on patient safety and quality outcomes.

In addition, some CXOs concern themselves with employee, physician and community experience, in addition to patient experience. It’s easy to see why integrating the CXO’s responsibilities into the roles of all C-suite officers makes sense. Shouldn’t everyone be responsible to a certain extent for the experience the hospital provides?

Patient experience is becoming increasingly linked to patient safety and quality

As the Vitalacy team speaks and works with healthcare organizations across the nation, it’s becoming clear that patient experience is become increasingly linked to quality and safety. For many hospitals, measuring and improving Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores – and non-clinical measures of satisfaction such as wait times, cafeteria food and parking service – are no longer enough.

Rather, many healthcare organizations have set more ambitious goals, ones that are focused on quantifiably making their patient care safer and better. Not only do they want to reduce readmissions to avoid penalties, they want to reduce healthcare-acquired infections and conditions (HAIs and HACs).

Afflicting 5 to 10 percent of hospitalized patients in the U.S. per year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2009), HAIs include central line associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI), catheter associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI), surgical site infections, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and Clostridium difficile (C. diff.). The most common HACs are falls, pressure ulcers and venous thromboembolism (VTE), according to the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research (AHRQ, 2017). These adverse events come with financial and legal liabilities, as well.

A perfect match: using technology to improve patient experience

Vitalacy has developed advanced, location-based technology that can identify trends in the experiential interactions between patients and caregivers. These workflow trends provide valuable and sustainable insights that can be used to improve operational and clinical effectiveness, reduce HAIs and HACs, and achieve better quality and safety outcomes.

The technology currently helps hospitals to improve the effectiveness of nurse rounding (Nour-Omid, July 2019), which can reduce the risk of patient falls, pressure ulcers and VTE; to monitor hand hygiene compliance, which has been linked to reduced HAIs (Nour-Omid, June 2019); and to monitor nurses for signs of fatigue (Gallese, 2019), which can make caregivers more prone to making errors.

By empowering hospitals with this technology, Vitalacy increases the likelihood that your patients will receive effective treatment without harm.

What is the patient experience at your hospital? Are you doing everything possible to send each patient home feeling better?

Learn more at www.vitalacy.com.


Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Final report: Estimating the additional hospital inpatient cost and mortality associated with selected hospital-acquired conditions. AHRQ publication No. 18-0011-EF, November 2017.

Castellucci, M. Use of CXO role fades as other leaders take on responsibilities. Modern Healthcare, July 27, 2019

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): The direct medical costs of healthcare-associated infections in U.S. hospitals and the benefits of prevention. March 2009.

Gallese, P. Helping caregivers manage stress, burnout and fatigue. An interview with Linda Bennett, Ph.D. Vitalacy blog, July 30, 2019.

Murphy, B. 30 hospital and health system CXOs to know. Becker’s Hospital Review, March 29, 2018.

Nour-Omid, J. A case study: will improvements in hand hygiene compliance reduce infections? Vitalacy blog, June 4, 2019.

Nour-Omid, J. What do VTE, pressure ulcers, falls and adverse drug events have in common? Vitalacy blog, July 9, 2019.

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