July 31, 2023 5 things keeping health system CXOs up at night

Editor’s note: Laudio leaders have been on the conference circuit talking to healthcare CXOs from around the country about their top-of-mind concerns. What we found is more common ground between the various functional areas than you might expect. Here are the top takeaways. 

Collaboration across the C-suite is more important than ever. Members of the healthcare leadership team are facing similar challenges and opportunities – and are increasingly working together to address them in an integrated, more effective way. While each officer has their own priorities, the most pressing issues facing healthcare organizations require attention and involvement from multiple functional areas. 

5 Challenges Getting Attention from Healthcare CXOs

Here are the cross-functional issues that are keeping CXOs up at night.

  1. Finance is everyone’s business.

No longer the primary concern of CFOs, everyone in the C-suite watches the bottom line, whether it’s cost containment, cost efficiency or economically maintainable strategies. CFOs are broadening the way they look at the revenue cycle and leveraging the relationship between patient care, workforce satisfaction and reimbursements. CHROs are keenly focused on labor cost management and market-responsive comp models. COOs are paying attention to the workforce and workforce stability issues that impact healthcare operations. And CSOs, CNOs and CMOs put more emphasis on the financial viability and sustainability of recruitment, retention and workforce planning initiatives. 

  1. Labor issues affect every department.

Workforce management is top of mind within the C-Suite. Staffing, recruitment and retention issues remain paramount for CHROs, CNOs and CMOs, of course. But CI/CTOs also suffer from a shortage of skilled talent and higher competition for those in the marketplace. And CFOs recognize nursing retention as a key cost containment strategy because of the high cost of recruiting and replacing. Chief marketing officers promote culture and image to showcase organizational reputation – a factor that drives pride and loyalty among current employees and is a crucial criterion for candidates in the marketplace.

  1. Investment in innovation drives the entire organization.

Tech infrastructure and data management are still the domains of CT and CIOs, who also look for ways to deploy AI and automation enterprise-wide to reduce administrative burden, standardize processes and improve efficiency and productivity. While investment in innovative technology has been key for chief clinical and research officers, it’s now a focus for CMOs, COOs and CFOs, too, who want to optimize data and analytics to inform decision-making, streamline processes and workflows and improve healthcare operations efficiency. CNOs get an assist from automation and AI to prioritize tasks and track metrics to give nurses what they need to be successful. CHROs are deploying healthcare workforce management software to support recruitment marketing and standardize and streamline the application, interviewing and onboarding processes. 

  1. Employee engagement is a key responsibility for every healthcare leader. 

Every employee – from frontline physicians and nurses to cybersecurity specialists and environmental services workers — wants to be seen and heard. They want their contributions to be acknowledged and their needs met. That’s why employee engagement is becoming a new core competency for everyone in the C-suite. Engaging employees with frequent communication and recognition moves the needle on patient satisfaction and retention, and quality and safety scores – all of which influence reimbursements. CXOs must create lines of communication all the way down the line and walk the talk so employees know they are valued as workers and as people. Today’s employees – regardless of their generation – want to be treated as individuals and to be shown how their performance contributes to the organization’s mission. 

  1. Culture is cross-functional.

Culture is, by definition, the responsibility of every functional leader. Every CXO is responsible for creating the processes and rules that govern behavior, and the practices that manifest the organization’s values and beliefs in service of the mission. From the CEO on down, executives must operate in a way that supports well-being, creates belonging, ensures safety, demands dignity and supports the joy of work. 

A New Paradigm for C-level Collaboration

Addressing these challenges and turning them into opportunities requires a new way of working in the C-suite. It starts with being open to novel ideas and collaborations, operating with empathy and intention, and a collective focus on achieving organizational goals for financial and operational performance and a culture of delivering exceptional care.


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