@phrma asked us on twitter, " If you could propose one idea to help improve health care delivery in the United States, what would it be? - See more at: http://www.phrma.org/phrmapedia/conversations/improve-us-health#sthash.KrzGflZr.dpuf "
If anyone knows where the rough spots are in healthcare delivery, its a person with ALS or a caregiver.
This idea is simple. It's incredibly simple. It's low-tech. Its need reflects a healthcare delivery system that still doesn't get patient-centricity though.
Dear people in the entire healthcare delivery process, I, the patient or caregiver, am a valuable resource for fixing a few things that aren't hard to fix. Please listen to me. Really listen.
After waiting for an appointment under the racket of a waiting-room television, I mentioned to the receptionist that it would be nice if there were a quiet area for patients who choose to read or work. Even my car dealer does that these days so that I can be productive while I wait. Did that suggestion make it to a staff meeting or a process-improvement team at the doctor's office? Probably not. I think a lot of those patient comments are ignored by the front-line folks because the patient can always mention them on the customer satisfaction survey. Besides, is the receptionist expected to be a waiting-room change-agent?
When I said to the physician, "Gee, the walls are thin in these exam rooms," that was a big clue that I heard things that were none of my business. What happened to that comment? Probably nothing. Yet we spend gazillions on HIPAA forms.
When I as a caregiver mentioned to the doctor that it took me two trips to the BMV to get the handicapped hang tag and if the doctor's office simply kept those forms, it would only have taken one, did anything happen to save the next caregiver a trip?
Healthcare delivery stakeholders, your patients are a gold mine. Are front-line healthcare deliverers motivated to be part of solutions? Between it's-not-my-job syndrome and leaving the voice of the customer to the customer satisfaction surveys, we miss the gold mine. Are patients who make observations and suggestions valued or are they wasting your valuable time? It's up to you, healthcare delivery.