Many thanks to those of you who have been such steadfast followers over the years of my regurgitations of the gossamer voices which continue to disrupt my waking moments.
It’s statements like that which explain why so many clinical psychologists continue to read my musings. Apparently, several them are in an online chat group whose singular mission is to assess my mental acuity. There’s a specious rumor being floated that the oddsmakers in Las Vegas are taking bets as to whether I am an idiot savant or just an idiot.
I started running again last week after four months of waiting for my meniscus to heal. Normal humans would probably start off slowly; run a minute, walk a minute. But it appears that Mr. and Mrs. Roemer raised a particularly hardy breed of idiot—I did 8 miles today. I was encouraged by the fact that I almost passed a ninety-year-old woman. Even though she smoked me during an uphill part of the run, I was comforted by the fact that I looked good in my running uni and Ray Bans. By the time I finished the eight miles, every part of my body hurt so much that I couldn’t even tell that I had a meniscus.
The woman walking from the hospital should have been watching where she was walking rather than speaking on her phone. She did not see the sinkhole until she fell into it, at which point she could see it in detail. The doctor, upon seeing her in the hole asked if she was okay. Learning that she was in pain, he wrote her a prescription and dropped it and a pen into the hole.
A few minutes later the hospital’s director of revenue assurance walked past the hole. She too inquired about her health. He opened his briefcase and dropped an insurance claim form into the hole. You should complete the form, but I don’t think having fallen into a sinkhole is covered under your plan.
The chief patient experience officer happened upon the woman and wanted to know what had happened. Speaking with her for a few minutes, he asked the woman: how was your experience with us prior to falling in the hole? “Would you mind filling out this patient experience survey?” He asked. He tossed the survey and a pen into the hole and left.
The woman considered her predicament. She thought, at least I can occupy my time by filling out the forms until I am rescued.
A consultant looked in the hole. He went by the moniker, the Voice of Reason. (You can buy Voice of Reason t-shirts during the intermission.) He assessed the situation and jumped into the hole.
“Now we’re both stuck,” she said.
“That’s okay,” I told her. “I’ve been in this hole before and I know the way out.”
If you try to recast consumerism and access and engagement and experience on your own, you may find yourself in the same position as the woman. A lot of meaningless assistance.
My experience tells me that most efforts to improve consumerism are done without any knowledge of what their efforts should look like when they are done.
Here’s a big hint. If you design it correctly, and you must design it, it should not look like anything. Consumerism, access, engagement, and experience should be ninety-nine percent invisible to your patients and consumers.
That ninety-nine percent should all be behind the scene. It should be built into your consumerism architecture and platform. The one percent seen by the patients and consumers is the hands-on user experience.
It helps if you think of it this way. Consider your tablet or phone and the underlying operating system—iOS, Android, and Windows. Your devices are easy to use. Their use is intuitive. What you see is the one percent. Far more than ninety-nine percent of what makes them easy to use is invisible. The hardware, the architecture, the processes, and the applications were designed.
And users were involved in every step of the design. It is called human-centered-design. Users knew the design would meet their needs and be simple to use before a single line of code was written.
The good news for healthcare consumerism is that a lot of the challenging work has been done for you. The devices and the operating systems already exist. The only remaining task is for healthcare to define what it wants to do with those tools.
Healthcare can design an experience for patients and consumers on those devices that can do everything they want, and it can be designed in a way to give them the experience they want.
Healthcare has almost everything it needs to recast consumerism. The only thing missing is defining what it should look like when it’s done and someone with the will to do it.
Jump into the hole with me and we’ll figure this out.