Philadelphia, PA — One Fall day, in the big open ballroom of one Hilton or another, eight conference speakers took turns answering a seemingly simple question: how do we engage these new digitally-empowered healthcare consumers?
The answer I remember came from doctors Danny Sands (CISCO) and Ted Eytan (Kaiser Permanente). They said it’s simple:
If you want people to participate more in their healthcare, you have to start by finding physicians who actually want them to do so.
Their frustration was with a gap in everyday healthcare that most people don’t even notice: The difference in care provided by doctors just doing their jobs and those actively engaged with their patients.
They challenged everyone who was listening to expect more:
- If your doctor doesn’t use electronic medical records – and encourage you to access and understand them – find a new doctor.
- If your doctor isn’t interested in what you’re reading about your condition online, find a new doctor.
- If your doctor doesn’t use connected technologies to communicate with you outside the exam room, find a new doctor.
It’s an issue that’s bigger than doctors, bigger than any individual healthcare system.
What Sands and Eytan uncovered is a new divide in healthcare. It’s not the haves and have nots; not the sick and the well; or even the digitally-connected and unconnected. Instead, it’s in the culture of the providers we choose.
It’s the divide between the companies, individuals and practices that invest in very human experiences around the moment of care and those that do not. It’s the gap between the ones that build the new interactions people want and those that do not.
Think about that question way beyond the exam room:
- Does the brand that makes your diabetes drug deliver it in a super simple auto injector that looks like it was designed by Apple? Or do they expect you to manage a handful of vials and tools to measure each dose?
- Does your urgent care queue you up in a long line? Or do you swipe a card to easily check-in, airline-style?
- Does your pharmacy automatically fill every prescription you bring in or do they ask hard questions and help you figure out how it all works together?
That’s the code to crack. The difference between communicating and connecting. Finding the kind of “experience” that changes everything.
Posted by: Leigh Householder