Today I am lucky enough to attend the Patient Experience Summit at the Cleveland Clinic. I’ve spent a lot of time talking to people (it’s a condition inherent to my disposition). I have asked gobs of attendees what has inspired them to join the summit over these few days. The overwhelming majority of attendees, clinicians themselves, are interested in the “traditional” patient experience. By traditional I mean patient is in front of me, within the confines of the brick and mortar clinical care setting, and I would like to optimize that experience for them.
This is a noble goal. This is why they practice medicine, right? Well, here is the problem. Any given patient, and we are all patients really, spend only 1% of their time within the clinical care setting. However, it is the other 99% that determines whether they return or maintain their health. As a result, providing care and managing chronic conditions for a patient population requires helping patients live healthy at home, at school, at work, in their neighborhood and in their community. Where are conversations about that 99% of the time and how we can extend the patient experience to all of the places where it also counts?
To impact care at this level, healthcare organizations need tools that can become a natural extension to a patient’s every day life. We need to get into the conversations that patients are already having in their heads when they are not right in front of us. This can be a challenging user experience issue indeed. However, with 84% of US adults using the internet daily and 85% US adult adoption of mobile phones, digital health provides some of the most important tools that a healthcare organization can use to keep their population healthy.