Kathi Cox has been transforming patient experiences for nearly 30 years at Texas Health.
She is part of several initiatives, such as enabling advanced care in the home, that consider the consumer at every step of the health journey.
Cox understands that healthcare is about people, and we will all be patients someday. So why not work together to make care better for all?
Accenture: You have been part of the Texas Health Organization for almost 30 years. What is it about Texas Health that has kept you there for so long and inspired you to pursue so many different areas?
Kathi Cox: The people and culture at Texas Health are what make this organization so special. That’s why we have so many ‘boomerangs’—people that leave and come back. We are an organization that truly cares about its people, and that’s why people stay so long. The opportunities are here, it’s just a matter of what you make of them. I learned that if people raise their hand, we are so giving as an organization. Our leaders give their time, and our colleagues share their experience and expertise. I have always found individuals in every area that have been gracious with their time and talent to teach me what I don’t know and be a resource whenever I need them.
In times of need, whether during the pandemic or amid other struggles, we come together as a culture to support each other. I find it inspiring.
Accenture: During your career at Texas Health, you moved from working in the hospital to corporate. What was the biggest difference when you moved from hospital operations to the corporate office?
KC: It’s a much bigger difference than I realized or expected, and transparently, it took a long time for me to adjust. It’s just a different environment. When you’re in a hospital, you’re around the public all the time—whether you’re walking from the parking lot or during your daily work activities. The “why” is right in front of you as you see people and interact with them.
At the corporate office, it becomes an intentional activity to keep focused on the “why” and to make sure you are always remembering the point of view of our facility operators. Now, I make it a point to and add time on my calendar to walk around the facilities to talk to staff and consumers. Those connections are what fills your soul.
"We see ourselves as a partner for a lifetime of health and wellbeing."
— Kathi Cox
Accenture: Why do you think that building and maintaining enduring relationships is so important in the healthcare provider environment?
KC: Healthcare is about people. People provide it and people receive it. And at some point, all of us will be a patient. Someone we love may experience a health crisis. I just feel like we are all in this together. There is no time to have alternate agendas, be dishonest or put barriers in each other’s way that keep us each from being successful. When my loved ones are in a health crisis, I want to know that I did everything I could to assure that wherever they are, they are receiving the best care – whether that is at a Texas Health facility or somewhere else.
Accenture: Texas Health has a vision for being a more customer-centric organization. Can you explain some of the changes the organization is making to enable that vision?
KC: We have always put the consumer at the center of every strategy, but in 2017, we set out to put our money where our mouths were. We invested in the tools that enabled us to be more consumer-focused and now we use those tools in concert with all the others in our toolbox to consider the consumer at every step of the health journey. We see ourselves as a partner for a lifetime of health and wellbeing.
We also changed our tactics. We recently opened the Center for Women at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Denton. We have built many buildings, but this was the first time we included our consumers. Instead of just assigning the architects and designers to come up with a plan, we brought in the people who would be using these services and asked them to be part of the design of this building. They were involved in the process all the way through to assure that when the $128 million expansion was complete, it was built for mothers and families by mothers and families.
Another example is how we managed vaccination clinics in the early days of the pandemic. Unlike other venues, we allowed consumers to schedule their vaccine at the clinic that was most convenient to them at the time that made the most sense. Our tools allowed them to reschedule or cancel if needed and they had a personal experience when they arrived in our clinics. Many of these consumers had never been to a Texas Health facility before, and now we see them across the Texas Health ecosystem, just based on that positive experience.
Accenture: What initiatives are you currently working on?
KC: We are very involved in bringing care to consumers in their homes. We all want convenience. With consumers in mind, we are asking ourselves how we can best provide safe, quality care in non-traditional venues…whether that be at home, at work or wherever the consumer may be.
Just recently, we began providing acute care in the home. This enables us to support the entire patient journey—whether within our physician practices or after people are discharged home.
Accenture: Across the roles that you’ve had, is there an accomplishment you are most proud of?
KC: I have been a part of many initiatives that were special to me. We stood up an EHR, we’ve built buildings and we’ve adopted innovative technology. I think what I’m most proud of is how many of my team members that I encouraged to gain additional education have gone on to do so. Several of my employees went back to school to become nurses, or they went back to get a bachelor’s or master’s degree that took them to greater roles and opportunities. I have been honored to have mentored several individuals over the years that have gone on to reach their goals. It’s exciting to watch them grow. We truly are a family.
Accenture: Tell us about your team and what you feel motivates them in their work.
KC: I think it’s because our mission is clear: “To improve the health of people in the communities we serve.” We believe in this mission from the top down and that motivates people every day, even as we navigate sticky situations and work in the trenches.
At a recent Officers Roundtable, we celebrated Texas Health’s 25 years as a system. During that meeting, our CEO Barclay Berdan asked everyone in the room to stand. Then he started to ask people to sit down based on how long they had been with Texas Health. It was striking to see just how few sat down even at five years. We have tremendous tenure with this organization, and it shows just how dedicated people are to doing their life’s best work at Texas Health.
Accenture: What do you like to do outside of work? Do you have any special hobbies or interests?
KC: I am a paper crafter and make cards that I enjoy sharing with others. I also really like to hone my grilling and smoking hobby. I took up sausage-making during COVID which has really taken me on an interesting journey as well. I’m a huge football fan—I love the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Longhorns—and I play in two fantasy leagues.