The Role of the CMO: Chief Medical Officer

One of the questions I am frequently asked is, “What do you do exactly?” And, my response is usually, “Well, that depends.” I have this response because the role of the Chief Medical Officer is one that is ever changing. I frequently refer people to the line in my job description that sums it up best… All other duties as assigned.

Don’t take this statement the wrong way, though. I have very much enjoyed those other duties as assigned. I have had the great opportunity to assist in managing the day to day operations for everything from revenue cycle (collecting payment) to pharmacy to the hospitalist group. This has been a great deal of fun (yes, I said fun) and I have been able to assist in making some great changes that have benefited staff, providers and patients.

One of the most important aspects of my role, however, is that along with the Chief Nursing officer, we provide for the highest level of clinical oversight in the organization. It is our job to work with our physician and nurse colleagues to ensure the highest level of care is provided to patients under our auspices. We have the responsibility to make sure those colleagues have all the tools and resources they need in order to perform at the maximum level possible. We also have the responsibility to provide feedback and help our colleagues continue to improve.

So, as a patient, what does this mean to you? Well, the Chief Medical Officer at whatever facility or healthcare entity you might interact with is there as a resource to you. Should you have suggestions about improvements, want to provide praise for a clinician or staff m ember who treated you well or if you have a complaint you wish to file, he or she can help you to provide that feedback. Many of us were raised to think that doctors and nurses were perfect. I can assure you we are not. We need your help to continue to improve and are happy to receive it.

I hope you are enjoying learning more about the complex world that is healthcare. It truly is a wilderness and I hope these articles will allow you a small glimpse of the forest for the trees. Please leave a comment if you have any specific questions or any topics you would like for me to address.

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