National Healthcare CMO Summit 2018

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  • Integrating the CMO and CNO Functions

    Frank Smeeks, a speaker at the marcus evans National Healthcare CMO/CMIO Summit 2013, on why hospitals need to integrate the CMO and CNO responsibilities.

    Interview with: Frank Smeeks, Chief Medical Officer, Bon Secours, St Francis Health System


    The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) jobs do not individually address the needs of the hospital, when it comes to the quality agenda and value-based purchasing, according to Frank Smeeks, Chief Medical Officer, Bon Secours, St Francis Health System. “The sum of the parts is greater than the whole,” Smeeks says.

    A speaker at the marcus evans National Healthcare CMO/CMIO Summit 2013, in Atlanta, Georgia, March 14-15, Smeeks discusses why a true partnership between CMOs and CNOs is essential for quality patient care.

    Why should the CMO and CNO job functions be integrated?

    Individually, each job cannot address hospital needs. We can take them individually, so if a surgeon does not order Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) prophylaxis, the “miss” on core measures would be the physician’s fault and should be addressed by the CMO. Or, we could consider DVT prophylaxis as part of the safety culture and the nursing function might execute a medical staff protocol on it and put notes in the charts to remind physicians.

    What is required to make this collaboration successful?

    In many organizations, the CMO and CNO are on opposite sides of the world. Their offices must be in close proximity for immediate collaboration, which may be necessary to solve problems.

    They must also have the same authority and respect. I feel comfortable with our CNO talking to a physician about his behavior, or lack thereof, and about any of the ongoing operational or quality issues. She feels very comfortable with me doing the same. I work very closely with many of her direct reports and have their respect. The comfort of having the nursing leaders come to me with issues makes our collaboration a success.

    How would this improve Electronic Medical Record (EMR) documentation?

    The EMR has definitely exploded in the past ten years. Nursing has taken such a pivotal role and the intricacies of an EMR are a challenge for physicians who often have an entirely different system in their office and possibly another system across town at the second or third hospital that they cover. 

    At our hospital, the clinical informatics lead reports to the CMO directly, with a dotted line to nursing. As a result, both of us are involved in workflow decisions, which can affect the physician and nursing practices. Honestly, if you do not consider all sides of the equation with the CNO when discussing how the EHR functions, you will miss the input of the majority of the daily users. The key here is open communication, a deep dive to look at the workflow, and compromise.

    From your perspective, what is ultimately required for quality patient care?

    Quality patient care is the result of open communication, collaboration and teamwork, standardized best practices, processes, and procedures, accountabilities and verification.

    My advice is to work closely with the CNO and foster that relationship. The dyad leadership model works. If you have been in medicine long enough, you will realize that you are going to make mistakes, even fairly big ones. There needs to be a trusted partner at work to watch what you do.

    Contact: Sarin Kouyoumdjian-Gurunlian, Press Manager, marcus evans, Summits Division

    Tel: + 357 22 849 313

    About the National Healthcare CMO/CMIO Summit 2013

    This unique forum will take place at The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead, Atlanta, Georgia, March 14-15, 2013. Offering much more than any conference, exhibition or trade show, this exclusive meeting will bring together esteemed industry thought leaders and solution providers to a highly focused and interactive networking event. The Summit includes presentations on improving clinical outcomes, effective CPOE adoption, improving physician documentation, achieving meaningful use requirements and improving quality through EMRs and engaging people on the front line.

    For more information please send an email to or visit the event website

    marcus evans group – healthcare sector portal

    Please note that the Summit is a closed business event and the number of participants strictly limited.

    About marcus evans Summits

    marcus evans Summits are high level business forums for the world’s leading decision-makers to meet, learn and discuss strategies and solutions. Held at exclusive locations around the world, these events provide attendees with a unique opportunity to individually tailor their schedules of keynote presentations, think tanks, seminars and one-on-one business meetings. For more information, please visit 


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