Saturday, January 05, 2008

Meet the Next "C-Level" Executive,
The Clinic's Chief Experience Officer

A few years ago, it might have been considered business jargon to talk about "C-level" executives, but by now, the term has pretty well filtered down to the masses. It means, basically, anyone with a title that begins with the word "chief," as in Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, etc. So what's the next iteration in corporate C-level execs, you ask? According to this piece in Ad Week, it's none other than the Chief Experience Officer. It focuses on the new CXO of the Cleveland Clinic, Bridget Duffy, who says her goal is to get the increasingly technology-oriented system to act more like a person than a machine. According to the article, based on surveys of patient satisfaction that she and her staff of a half dozen pore over, the Clinic has made such changes as giving free bus passes to patients with transportation problems.

For those so inclined to see it that way (I happen to be among them), this initiative could also be seen as yet another prong in the $4-billion health care system's comprehensive lobbying campaign to demonstrate that it's not a heartless giant but a caring corporate citizen, and thus should continue to remain exempt from taxation, a notion that's been challenged by Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley and Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis. The Clinic responds to all this here.


At 11:00 PM, Blogger Cleveland Carole Cohen 3C said...

I read this a few times; I'm not sure what the answer is and I'm not sure where the problem started. For sure The Clinic employs and helps the greater Cuyahoga Community. According to Vickie Eaton of Fairfax, whom I respect, The Clinic is working on becoming an even better resident of Fairfax too. So the issue isn't their actions to keep tax abatement, at least not for me. I think they are doing what everyone else wants to do. Not be a part of the system. How did this happen anyway? Think about all the sports facilities like Jacobs Field here, that get built with more taxpayer money than private. I've been trying to think of other areas of entitlement that so many now expect. The Clinic is just followoing suit. It's the culture we allow, not them?

At 8:21 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

That's a very interesting take, Carole. You make a good point. I think that it took the threat of the U.S. Senate pushing this aggressively to get their attention. I'm not sure the local pressure and bad publicity would have been enough.

At 4:06 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

By the way, did you read it multiple times because it was unclear? Hope not.

At 2:42 PM, Anonymous Scott said...

For what it's worth, my first PR job was in the Clinic's media relations department (1999-2002). This was an issue even then, and we often got calls about the level of charity care we provided and the extent to which we were involved in the surrounding community. The Clinic does a decent job of giving back to the region. The problem was that they never really wanted to take the time and energy to gather the facts and publicize them. To be honest, it was an issue that, at times, we in media relations just wished would go away.

At 2:46 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

That's an interesting and valuable first-hand insight, Scott. And I suppose it's quite understandable that a health system is focused on other issues, even though some on the outside might perceive the Clinic as a giant marketing machine, it's marketing may not have been so focused on this piece of their story. I gather that it's more focused on it now than when you were there. But anyway, it's always nice to get a first-hand view from an insider, which I thank you for.


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