Patient experience is defined as “…the sum of all interactions, shaped by an organization’s culture, that influence patient perceptions across the continuum of care” (The Beryl Institute). Extending this definition to encompass the human experience acknowledges the broadness and wholeness of our lives. As humans, we contain multitudes: we are kind, messy, brave, overwhelmed, tired, generous, complicated. We tell stories of our loves and losses. We search for meaning in the mundane. We yearn for more. Our core experiences – the ones that make us us – are shared and spontaneous. As healthcare leaders, we can honor the full dimensions of the human experience by advocating for health in all of its forms – protecting good health, promoting healing, and preserving quality of life.
And yet, most of us spend only a small part of each day explicitly focused on our health – and even less time interacting with a healthcare provider. Consider all the choices that we make on a daily basis – outside the exam room – that impact our health, such as going to work or school, shopping for groceries, walking the dog, and catching up with loved ones. If how we spend our days is how we spend our lives, then these decisions are the ones that matter most in the trajectory of our health. As such, the guidance we receive from healthcare providers must meet us where we are in the context of our lives – at home, work, play, and all the spaces in between.
Collaboration: Our Urge to Connect
The patient-provider relationship is a safe space for many, representing one of the most sacred bonds that we hold outside our circles of family, friends, and colleagues. Even so, this relationship is largely characterized by information asymmetry. Patients seek care from providers who have developed deep domain expertise after years of specialized training and treating similar patients – expertise that patients themselves do not have. Without the benefit of first-hand experience, providers need to map out both the explicit and implicit perimeters of the patient’s concerns to develop a plan of care.
This two-sided information asymmetry has the potential to create “near-misses” during the course of treatment and as a result, compromise health outcomes. Even the most informed patients have accepted the reality of making decisions about their health and healthcare based on limited information – until now. Gone are the days when providers made all the decisions. With the increased focus on value-based care and patient engagement, today’s consumers are empowered to take an active role in their own health – and 75% of patients seek a partnership with their providers to determine the most effective treatment decisions.
“If the consumer is engaged in researching [his or her own health] problem, he or she will be more likely to also become engaged in his or her preventative care,” explains Professor John Quelch of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. When providers and patients collaborate as a team to define and achieve the patient’s health goals, this engagement increases adherence to provider recommendations and ultimately drives improved health outcomes and cost savings.
Convenience: What We Really Want
Today’s consumers report being busier than ever, with the average workday increasing by 8.2% during the early weeks of the pandemic. Convenience is increasingly a non-negotiable, foundational need; consumers expect to access care when, where, and how it best suits them. In fact, 51% of consumers reported that convenience and access to care are the most important factors in their healthcare decision-making, ahead of care quality. When the healthcare system is easier to navigate, patients are more likely to seek preventive care.
Convenience is the cornerstone of human-centered healthcare delivery. It is driven by a deep empathy of the many identities that we carry in our personal and professional lives – mother, boss, best friend, sister, co-worker – and identifying opportunities to ease the time, cost, and emotional burdens that often accompany healthcare. When convenience is not adequately addressed, this can present barriers to care and contribute to poorer health outcomes.
“By moving blood testing closer to where people live and work, we can significantly reduce the wait time for patients to receive their results. When we make it easier for consumers to access their health information, we also make it easier for them to become empowered partners in their health,” said Dena Marrinucci, PhD, COO and Co-Founder at Truvian.
We are proud to be elevating the standard of routine testing to unlock data-driven health decisions at the point of care. With approximately 70% of all medical decisions depending on laboratory test results for diagnosis or treatment, making routine health testing convenient, affordable, and actionable is the first step towards answering the deeply human questions that empower the decisions we make about our health. It’s the first step towards honoring the roles that we desire as full partners in managing and improving our health. It’s the first step towards leading our healthiest lives.