Friday, June 4, 2010

The Patient Experience - making a difference in YOUR health care

Ever wonder how YOU can help improve health care? As you know, YOUR voice is an important one in getting the quality care you need. is here to help you increase your voice and improve your health care experiences. That's why we have created a new monthly newsletter, The Patient Experience. offering helpful tips you can use at your very next health care encounter.

This month's features include:
What people like YOU are saying
What YOU can do now to improve your health care
Care Stars: Celebrating America’s Excellent Health Care Providers

The Patient Experience newsletter also features a new and helpful patient interaction tool, The Patient Answers Form. Using this form each time you interact with health care professionals will help you remember important questions you need to ask at your next visit and specific instructions you need to remember after leaving the visit.

Have an idea on how to improve the patient experience? We'd be happy to share those tips with others. Contact us - Ideas for the Newsletter

Remember to keep sharing your experiences on, together WE can improve healthcare.


  1. Here's a thought. Start by calling your health care provider by their first name instead of by their title. Humanize the experience for yourself and break down the wall between patient and doctor by dealing with the relationship as if it were between two concerned human beings rather than between a poor ignorant sickie and a learned technician who interprets what a machine indicates.

    My very wonderful doctors are named John and Doug - and that's what I call them. They were surprised when I did that, but they didn't implode, they got human and were called to take an interest in me - the patient - what a concept.

  2. I don't ascribe to the point of view that it is the patient's job to be educated to ask the right - even the annoying - medical question.

    The patient is sick.

    All that a patient needs to do is show up. It is the JOB of the various parts of the system to support the patient.

    Unfortunately, the various integrated systems involved in Health Care are not organized around the concerns of the patient. They are organized around the concerns of the survival of the integrated system.

    The Health Care system; Government, insurance entities, equiptment manufacturers, doctors, nurses, staff, hospitals, business interests, banks, and investors, are all organized to support an array of sophisticated machines. All of these integrated systems are static, in place, and immovable.

    The only moving piece is the patient, who is caught in an overwhelming vicious systemic circle. No one designed it that way, that is the way it grew to become.

    The patient is actually a disposable billable commodity who is the piece of meat about which a machine is scanning and generating a diagnostic readout.

    The doc has been reduced to the status of technician who reads and interprets the machine output, then prescribes accordingly.

    The hospital bills for the service so that it can pay for the machine. That completes the patient loop of the vicious circle. NEXT!

    Again, in the static unmoving world of health care, the only moving piece is the patient, and he/she is, at best, a disposable, billable commodity.

    What's wrong with this picture?

  3. John King: I like your attitude and idea on what to call your healthcare provider ("John" not "Doctor King"). But by imposing our approach to "humanizing" on the Doctor, that could potentially harm the relationship.

    But wouldn't be even more powerful if the MD would invite you to call them by their first name, and not their title.

    I met a man yesterday at a conference I was speaking at who introduced himself to me only as "Lionel", and then told me a great story of a hospital and a group of care givers that were really known for caring and were down to earth (until they got sold by investors). As he walked away, another man came to me and said, "So, how do you know Dr. Smith? Did you know he was the CEO of that Hospital?" That man had many titles, but only gave one name to everyone he met, "please, call me Lionel!

  4. The Patient Answer Form is not unlike the discharge form given at most hospitals. Extending this concept to the office visit can provide a clearer set of directions for the patient post visit.

    Written documents that remind patients of their conversation with a physician is helpful not only to the patient later but to the family who are interested in their health as well.