Healthcare: Please Don’t Make Me Call You

Nowadays you can’t swing a cat without hitting someone who has a newer and better idea about how you can fix your organization. More often than not, those ideas include the word design: user design and human-centered design are two of the culprits.

And that is the problem. Every business process in every firm is the outcome of human-centered design. Somebody—a human—designed it. And chances are very good that they did not design it well.

Instead of thinking, ‘How would I design this?” executives need to be asking, “How would other people—humans—want to use this process?”

To be effective at what they do, firms need to go from user design to user-centered-design. They need to go from human design to human-centered design. When talking about what makes one business more effective than another business, one word, centered, makes all of the difference.

I’ll use healthcare to illustrate the point, but the same issues apply elsewhere.

If you have ever called your payer or your provider, you know what I am talking about. Whoever built the call center you called spent way more attention selecting the color of the carpeting that was installed than they did figuring out how to solve business problems.

The same logic, minus the carpeting, applies to their websites.

Nobody ever sat down with a patient and asked, “What do you want to do, and how do you want to do it when you contact us?”

Neither did CMS when it came up with its list of what constitutes a good patient experience.

If you are a healthcare executive, consider doing this. Sit down with a patient, and have the following conversation.

Executive: “What do you want to do when you call us?”

Patient: “I do not want to call you.”

You can take it from here. If you get stuck, let me know.

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