CEO2

“Chief experience officers first popped up in healthcare roughly 10 years ago. The role has only increased in strategic importance for healthcare organizations since implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which tied patient satisfaction scores to reimbursement.” Modern Healthcare, May 12, 2018

“As healthcare becomes more focused on improving the patient experience, the need for having someone in charge of that experience appears to be shrinking.” Modern Healthcare, July 29, 2019

What a difference a year makes. The Chief Experience Officer position which was thought of as being crucial to healthcare organizations is now being subjected to critical scrutiny—and about time. The CEO2, as I liked to refer to the position, had a different job description from organization to organization.

I always thought saddling one person with the responsibility for “patient experience” was a way for other managers to escape accountability for results. It is an artificial contrivance but it sure marked your organization as being cool. Unfortunately, healthcare is so prone to falling heads over heels in love with the latest trends that we forget to be critical in assessing new positions and titles and what they signify to others in the organization.

There are now so many positions which carry the adjective “Chief” that a poor Chief Executive Officer gets lost in the shuffle. There’s a Chief for this and a Chief for that. Many of these positions used to carry mundane titles like “Vice President”. Some of them even served a useful purpose.

Modern Healthcare has a chart with 25 different “Chief” positions. Nowhere on the chart is the title “Chief Executive Officer”. If I was still working and not on the beach where things are clearer, I would probably be devastated.

I therefore propose a new title for the CEO: “Chief Chief” or “CC” for short. If the CC is particularly obtuse, he or she could use “BCC” as an abbreviation. Or if you don’t like that, how about “Chief of Chiefs”?

I once proposed that my title should be “King” but soon discovered that no one wanted to be a prince or princess. I also discovered that not everyone appreciated my sense of humor.

The first CEO I worked for once told me in his down home, funny Texas way that all his senior managers were mice trying to become rats. I knew many people at that hospital who agreed with him, especially on the medical staff.

The Chief Experience Officer may be going the way of the dodo bird but take heart, there are new titles gaining life. It is apparently no longer de rigueur to be the Chief Medical Officer. Now the title should be Chief Physician Officer. New chiefs are being born everyday. Use your imagination.

So it is goodbye to the good old CEO2 (born 2009, died 2019). From the point of view of staff, one less Chief is good. Getting the job done is far more important than a title.

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