I had the opportunity to hear a speech from Jason Wolf, the head of the Beryl Institute, about where healthcare is going, specifically where Patient Experience efforts are headed. It was a wonderful talk and one of his slides in particular really resonated with me.
We in healthcare went from DO TO to DO FOR and now we’re moving to DO WITH.
I really like that.
For a long time, medicine was all about fixing people who were sick. You went to see a doctor because something was wrong. Doctors were there to do things TO people.
Things started to change relatively recently, when we began to see medicine as more of a service. We started asking if patients were comfortable. We redesigned waiting areas and made all the inpatient rooms private. We utilized chaplains to address spiritual needs and social workers to assist with planning and care post-discharge. We even brought in animals to help patients heal more quickly. Healthcare became something we can do FOR people.
Now we’re in an age of patient engagement. We want patients to be in tune with their bodies and speak up if they feel something isn’t right. Medicine is becoming more of a partnership. Instead of heading straight to the doctor’s office, people are now looking up their symptoms online. They’re asking more questions. They’re seeking more second opinions. They’re making more informed choices. Healthcare is something we’re doing WITH people.
Yep, I really like that.
I know this can be difficult for physicians, especially if a patient’s wishes fly in the face of his or her advice, or a patient convinced himself of something erroneous because he read about it on the internet. It’s hard to watch patients make decisions that aren’t based in science. That’s why it’s more important than ever to take the time to build trust, listen to what patients tell you is important to them, acknowledge how they feel, and give them accurate information to help them make good choices.
Instead of blindly following doctors’ orders, patients are looking for support, advice, recommendations, and help and, ultimately, the choice is theirs. When physicians and nurses start to see healthcare as something they do WITH people, instead of TO them or even FOR them, we will have achieved genuine patient engagement.