Add a new chair to the hospital C-suite table

The chief population health officer (CPHO) is the latest executive title in hospital and health system C-suites, according to Becker's Hospital Review.

The CPHO is responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of a hospital or health system's population health management strategy. But, in many cases, they are also charged with fostering relationships with payers and community institutions. Within the organization, they tend to work closely with the chief financial officer and the chief clinical officer, Jim King, senior partner and chief quality officer with Witt/Kiefer, told Becker's.

In the changing healthcare market, the CPHO position will continue to grow rapidly, King predicted. "I think a lot of healthcare systems are trying to figure out what the new healthcare delivery model needs to look like in each of their markets," he told Becker's.

The vast majority of CPHOs are physicians, King told Becker's.

"This person is typically asked to take the lead not only in designing the population health strategy for the organization, but also to be the leader of the physician network organization," he said. "It is very uncommon for someone to lead that organization who is not a physician."

Other common traits for CPHOs, according to the article, include:

  • Membership in a large physician group

  • Other advanced degrees

  • Experience in a team-based care setting

  • Experience with public health institutions

Physicians who fit all these criteria are few and far between, so healthcare organizations may be tempted to hire a qualified physician before they are ready to add a CPHO, according to King. To safeguard against this, organizations should clearly define the CPHO's function within their structure and communicate it to shareholders before recruitment.

As reimbursement and delivery models change, more hospitals and health systems are giving physicians and nurses leadership roles, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- here's the article